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Bad sleep habits create more work for your body and brain

You Snooze, You Win!

Jan 6, 2022

Sleep is the Best Form of Meditation

Did you know there are simple steps to prevent heart disease, the number #1 cause of death in the US? For several weeks, we’ve been discussing the easiest ways to care for yourself without medical intervention. A change of heart might really just be a change of lifestyle. Today we are focusing on sleep and how it relates to your heart health.

In America, we are struggling with a sleep-epidemic of sorts. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep is considered healthy practice. But more than 1 in 3 American adults report getting less than the recommended amount of sleep, according to the CDC. At first glance, sleep might not be obviously related to heart health. But did you know that research suggests people who get less sleep are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity?

All of these ailments are also leading factors for heart disease and stroke. Each of these diagnoses can also be the catalyst for a vicious cycle of sleep trouble. High blood pressure is also known to cause insomnia or trouble falling asleep. Similarly, obesity can cause sleep apnea, where fat deposits in the neck block the upper airway during sleep, making it difficult to breathe. In other words, bad sleep habits create more and more heart trouble. But good sleep habits can be an easy, heart health preventative.

Regular Schedule: Do your best to go to bed and wake up at similar times, even on the weekends. This helps your body’s natural rhythms.

Natural Light: Did you know your body responds differently to sunlight than artificial lighting? Get outside for a walk at lunch or sit by a window during the day. Avoid artificial light, especially within a few hours of bedtime. Use a blue light filter on your computer or smartphone

Exercise: Getting enough physical activity during the day has many health benefits but it can also help you sleep at night. Just try not to exercise within a few hours of bedtime.

Curb Bedtime Cravings: Don’t eat or drink a few hours before bedtime; avoid alcohol and foods high in fat or sugar.

Sleep Enviornment: Your bedroom environment can affect your sleep. Keep it cool, dark, and quiet. Still having trouble sleeping? Talk to a medical professional to help you overcome other health issues that might be keeping you from good sleep. Research says the old adage “you snooze, you lose” is all wrong. Good sleep habits are likely to prevent serious health issues in the future. Want to know more about heart disease prevention? Check out the other posts in our series below.

Resources:

How does sleep affect your heart health? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is sleep apnea? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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