In addition to exercise and healthy eating, sleep is also an important factor in helping to increase heart health. Therefore, it stands to reason that the better night’s sleep you get, the healthier you will be. According to a study by the American Heart Association, poor sleep quality is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, a potential cause of heart disease.
How Much Sleep is Enough?
So, the logical question becomes how much sleep is the right amount? Research indicates that a good night’s sleep for people varies from person to person, but seven hours of sleep is usually a safe amount for most people. The American Heart Association indicates that when we are young, we need more than seven hours of sleep and when we get older we may need fewer hours of sleep. Consequently, it seems to come down to between six and eight hours of sleep in each twenty four hour period. And that too little or too much sleep can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.
Dr. Gina Lundberg, clinical director of Emory Women’s Heart Center, says, “People who are sleep deprived have slower metabolism and more difficulty losing weight. They also have the effect of not wanting to exercise or participate in other healthy habits.” She also said “The positive effect of sleep is not just on your heart health but also on your stress system, your breathing, and your mental status.”
What Can You do to Improve Sleep?
If you suffer from a lack of consistent, restful sleep, there are things you can do to improve your situation, such as the following:
- Exercise; to schedule 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise at least three to four times per week.
- Avoid excess coffee; which has excess stimulants such as caffeine, particularly before bed time.
- Establish an evening routine; setting the stage for a good night’s rest that includes turning off electronic devices and engaging in relaxing activities such as a warm shower or bath, or reading or meditating.
Keep in mind that there is a relationship between improper sleep and heart disease.