How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart

How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart?

You know you need sleep. Otherwise, you struggle to stay awake. You struggle to focus during work meetings. You struggle to find the energy needed to do whatever you need to do. But there’s another, potentially more serious, problem caused by lack of sleep — poor sleep increases the risk of heart problems.

Conditions Linked to Sleep Problems

Think you can get away with being sleep deprived? Think again. Whether sleep disorders or poor lifestyle choices cause your lack of sleep, not sleeping puts you at increased risk for the following:

  • High cholesterol 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Obesity 
  • Type 2 diabetes 

Each of these conditions is bad enough on its own, but all of them can increase your risk for coronary artery disease. This includes heart attack, heart failure, stroke and more. 

How Sleep Helps

When you sleep, your body does some amazing things. Your blood pressure drops and your breathing and heart rates slow down. This gives your heart a much-needed break. During this time, your body recovers from the stress and strain placed on it throughout the day.

When you are sleep deprived, your body misses out on this restorative, healing process. Instead, your heart continues pumping at full blast. This leaves your blood vessels under constant stress, which can lead to dangerous and deadly results. 

Unfortunately, getting poor quality sleep is nearly as bad as no sleep. Research indicates that your risk for heart disease increases whether you don’t sleep at all or if your sleep is interrupted by health conditions, such as an overactive bladder, and sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. 

Better Sleep = Better Heart Health 

To protect against heart disease, aim for seven to nine uninterrupted hours of sleep each night. If you are unable to meet this goal, try these tips: 

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including on the weekends. Your body loves routine. Having a set sleep and wake schedule makes it easier to fall asleep easily and wake up ready to go. 
  • Keep your bedroom a sleep paradise. Screens emit blue light that can interfere with your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Get rid of the TV and turn off your phone when in the bedroom. Make your room dark and cool, and you’ll enjoy better sleep. 
  • Have a nighttime routine. Whether brushing your teeth, taking a shower or reading before bed, doing the same thing before bed every night helps you get in the sleeping mindset.

Take these steps, and you’ll have a better chance of sleeping easy and knowing you’re taking good care of your heart. 

Still have questions about your heart health? Make an appointment with your primary care provider today. Visit [URL to follow].