If you’re at risk for heart trouble, be sure to make good sleep a priority. Good — and bad, or lack of — sleep affects your health over time.
A good night’s sleep doesn’t just make you feel better — like exercise and diet, it affects your health over time.
Sleeping well can help you eat less, exercise better, and maintain a stable mood. Now we have evidence it also protects you have heart disease.
Ideally you would sleep seven or eight hours a day, without insomnia, snoring, or daytime sleepiness, then rise early.
Those healthy sleep patterns are linked to a 42 percent lower risk of heart failure in a study of more than 400,000 adults in the United Kingdom over a decade.
The researchers adjusted the data to account for diabetes, high blood pressure, medications and certain genes.
The risk of heart failure was 8 percent lower in early risers, 12 percent lower if you slept 7 to 8 hours a day, 17 percent lower if you didn’t have frequent insomnia, and 34 percent lower if you didn’t suffer from have daytime sleepiness, often a symptom of sleep apnea.
Other risks of bad sleep
- High blood pressure. Your blood pressure drops while you’re asleep. If you’re awake too much, your blood pressure stays higher for more time than it should. About one in three adults in the United States have high blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that getting the right amount of good sleep may help improve blood sugar control
- Obesity. Lack of sleep can lead to extra pounds, especially for children and adolescents. Being tired seems to affect our appetite.
Tips for better sleep
- Increase bright light exposure during the day. You’ll have more energy and sleep more soundly. Go outside or invest in sunlight bulbs.
- Don’t watch TV for two hours before bed — and use any electronic devices with a blue-light blocker.
- Don’t nap more than a half hour at time — unless you already nap in the daytime and know that you sleep well at night.
- Stick to your bedtimes and waketimes, even on weekends.
- Make sure your bedroom isn’t noisy or too warm — 70 degrees Fahrenheit is a good target. If you get light through the window or through electronic devices at night, wear an eye mask.
- Try relaxation techniques like meditation, soothing music, and hot baths near bedtime.
- Exercise regularly — but not before bed.
- Don’t drink for two hours before bedtime if you wake up to urinate.
- Get checked for sleep apnea — and use a prescribed CPAP machine. You don’t have to be an obese man to have sleep apnea; it also affects women and people who aren’t heavy
September 07, 2021
Janet O’Dell, RN