February 1, 2022
Our hearts are our lifelines—quite literally. The heart ensures that our bodies receive oxygen and other nutrients that we need in order to survive. Without the heart, our vital organs—including the brain—don’t receive blood, which will cause them to stop working.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, followed by cancer and COVID-19. When talking about heart disease, it’s important to understand that heart disease simply refers to several different heart conditions. The most common type of heart disease is CAD (coronary artery disease). CAD most typically leads to heart attacks.
Most often, heart disease is associated with particular medical conditions and lifestyle choices, such as obesity, diabetes, and excessive alcohol use. What isn’t discussed as often is the impact of sleep on the heart—and it’s arguably just as important.
How Does Sleep Affect the Heart?
Sleep is just as biologically necessary as eating and drinking water. Additionally, sleep is just as necessary for your health as is eating fruits and vegetables and routinely exercising; and the kicker is that they are all interconnected.
High-quality sleep improves one’s ability to receive adequate exercise and make better decisions about their health while awake. Exercise and a nutritious diet, in turn, promote healthy sleep—and all are needed for quality cardiovascular health.
As noted by the American Heart Association, receiving healthy sleep reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, inflammation, and even cardiovascular events such as strokes and heart attacks.
Individuals who suffer from—and don’t receive treatment for—sleep disorders place themselves in a high-risk category for the above conditions—especially those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and insomnia.
Last year, researchers took their understanding of sleep and heart disease to the next level and discovered a particularly interesting phenomenon: The time you go to sleep impacts your chances of developing heart disease.
The Time You Go To Sleep Matters
Over the course of five-and-a-half years, over 88,000 U.K. residents’ habits were monitored. From this data, researchers have been better able to understand how different lifestyle habits impact our bodies—including sleep.
One particular study, conducted on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology, of this data, found the aforementioned phenomenon: Four percent of participants developed some form of cardiovascular disease, with 43% of those participants having gone to bed after midnight. Additionally, participants who reported going to bed between 10-11 p.m. had the best cardiovascular outcomes. The study makes a point to note that this information is particularly relevant for women.
So, what does this mean for us? Well, it’s highly suspected that going to bed too early or too late is bad for our hearts—the reason behind this is still being determined by researchers.
How Can I Improve My Sleep?
There are more benefits associated with receiving quality sleep than we can count on our hands and toes; but unfortunately, this is easier said than done for individuals who suffer from a sleep disorder. Roughly 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder, and what we see within that statistic are 70 million Americans at risk of developing a form of heart disease at some point in their lifetime. You don’t have to be one of them.
Scheduling a consultation with a sleep expert is the first step to overcoming poor sleep. At Sleep Dallas, our resident sleep specialist Dr. Marie Dibra can provide you with a specialized assessment to determine what sleep disorder is giving you problematic sleep. If it happens to be obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Kent Smith has over two decades of experience helping patients find relief from their disordered breathing.
Click here to schedule your initial consultation online, or call our office at (844) 409-4657 to get started on your sleep journey today.
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