By now, we all know the importance of sleep for physical and mental health. Getting the right amount of high-quality sleep every night has many benefits, from increased mental acuity to better skin to a lower weight, and much more. Did you also know that getting enough Zzzzs every night can reduce your risk of heart disease?
In a recent study reported by the American Heart Association, researchers found that adults who got adequate, quality sleep had fewer early signs of heart disease than those who slept either too much or too little, or who reported lower rest quality.
Specifically, the study found that those who slept five or fewer hours per night had 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than those who got seven hours of sleep. But more isn’t always better: those who slept nine or more hours per night had 70 percent more coronary calcium than those who slept seven hours.
The study also showed that sleep quality matters. Participants who reported getting restless, wakeful or otherwise low-quality sleep had 20 percent more coronary calcium than those who regularly achieved restful sleep. Researchers believe that, for reducing heart disease risk, quality may be more important than time. “Adults with poor sleep quality have stiffer arteries than those who sleep seven hours a day,” said Yoosoo Chang, M.D., the study’s lead author.
If you struggle to get enough high-quality, restful sleep, here are a few things that can help you and reduce your heart disease risk in the process.
- Don’t look at your phone or any other screens for at least one hour before bedtime.
- Play white noise, and keep your bedroom cool.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Have a high-protein, low-sugar snack shortly before bedtime.
- Consume sleep-promoting foods and drinks, such as tart cherry juice or chamomile tea, in the evening.
Because heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women in the United States, it’s important to minimize your heart disease risk factors, and to know what to do if someone you love experiences a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest. HeartCert offers affordable CPR and First Aid classes for all levels of experience. Get in touch to learn more.
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