Can Your Sleep Patterns Affect Your Heart Health?

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133848816In our fast-paced world, it can be hard to get a decent night’s sleep. Between work responsibilities and the demands of home life, many people are running on a sleep deficit, which could spell bad news for our heart health.

More Than a Luxury

Most of us treat sleep as a luxury, considering ourselves lucky if we manage to eke out six or seven hours a night. However, medical science indicates that we should make sleep a priority if we want to protect our health and prevent heart disease.

Why Sleep Matters

Sleeping less than six hours a night puts you at risk for certain types of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. In fact, a study that tracked 3,000 adults aged 45 and over found that those who got fewer than six hours of sleep per night were twice as likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack than those who regularly got between six to eight hours of sleep nightly.

Recent research suggests that the quality of our sleep may be as important to our heart health as diet and exercise.

The Connection Between Heart Disease and Sleep

The heart needs its rest just as much as you do. As you sleep, your heart rate and blood pressure lower, giving the heart a well-deserved break. If you’re not getting enough sleep over an extended period of time, it can lead to higher blood pressure, putting you at increased risk for heart disease. And it’s not just adults who need to invest in a good night’s sleep. According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, adolescents that have a poor quality of sleep, including sleep disturbances and sleep deprivation, are at a heightened risk of developing heart disease.