W.C. Fields once said, “The best cure for insomnia is getting a lot of sleep.” As humans, we spend one third of our lives sleeping, and a really good night’s sleep can have a positive impact on our entire day. What if the opposite is true? Can inadequate sleep cause negative effects especially on our heart? Let’s investigate the connection between sleep deprivation and heart disease.
We need sleep to repair our body, and most adults need about 7 hours of sleep per night, but many don’t get that amount of restful, rejuvenating sleep. If this becomes a chronic problem, it can affect your health.
Besides the obvious issues from lack of sleep like poor concentration, lack of focus, or irritability, poor sleep can cause an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, too little sleep even early in life can be detrimental of our health. One study concluded that teens who didn’t sleep well had higher levels of cholesterol, higher BMI, larger waist sizes, and higher risk of hypertension.
Another way we know that lack of extended sleep causes heart problems is from studying those with sleep apnea. This condition disrupts sleep many times each night which causes problems with heart health. Thus both irregular and insufficient sleep increases your risk of heart disease.
We require extended periods of restful sleep to stay healthy.
High blood pressure is one of the leading risks for strokes and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in the U.S.
When we sleep undisturbed, our blood pressure goes down. When we can’t fall asleep or stay asleep our blood pressure stays higher for longer periods of time.
When you have diabetes, it damages your blood vessels and can cause a myriad of other health problems. Research has found that poor sleep habits are linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, whereas improving the duration and quality of sleep may help with blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes.
Studies have shown an association between insufficient sleep or short duration sleep and excess body weight. This is particularly seen in children.
Sleep for both children and adolescents is important for brain development. Lack of sleep affects the hypothalamus in the brain which regulates appetite and energy.
We have all had short bouts with insomnia, but when it becomes more the rule, it affects your heart health. Over time it can lead to higher stress levels, less motivation to exercise, and unhealthy food choices all leading to heart disease.
Lack of sleep is a national problem, so find ways to improve your sleep habits.