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Poor sleep is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Get a better night’s rest with our sleep tips.

How Sleep Affects Your Heart Health

Getting good sleep isn’t just important for your energy levels—it’s critical for your heart health, too.

What keeps you from sleeping? What makes your blood pressure rise? Did you know that the stressors of life are often more diverse and intense between the ages 40-60? These ages are considered middle adulthood, and this time period is not only more stressful but it is also a longer life stage.

There are also two health issues that commonly begin in this period. Atherosclerosis, a precursor to heart disease, develops in this age range as do many age-related sleep issues. With this in mind and knowing that poor sleep can affect heart health, researchers decided to do a research study on middle age heart health and sleep.

The study looked at something known as multi-dimensional sleep health. Though it sounds complex, it means sleep is complicated and there are a number of factors that influence how well we sleep. Here are the measures of multi-dimensional sleep health listed in the study:

Regularity in sleep - How routine is your sleep?

Satisfaction with sleep - How satisfied are you with your sleep?

Alertness during waking hours - How alert are you during the day?

Timing of sleep - When do you go to sleep?

Sleep Efficiency - How well do you sleep?

Sleep Duration - How long do you sleep?

Using these measures, researchers studied whether having more sleep issues meant a person would have a higher risk of heart disease in middle adulthood. In the end, the study showed that when a person has individual sleep health issues, there is risk of heart disease. But having more than one meant MORE risk of heart disease in middle age. Considering that only 1 in 3 American adults gets enough sleep, there is a lot of potential heart disease out there!

So, what’s the takeaway? If you’re in your 20s and 30s, consider establishing healthy sleep habits now. Have you hit 40 yet? If so, now is good time to take stock of your sleep conditions.

Sleep issues should not be ignored. They must be treated like other habits that put people at higher risk for heart disease. For example, it is common knowledge that a diet high in saturated fats will put a person at higher risk for heart disease. But sleep is a less discussed risk factor.

Still, in America only 1 in 3 adults gets enough sleep. 

Looking for more sleep tips? Check out our learnings and get more sleep:

Burning the Midnight Oil: The Effects of Workday Sleep Habits

The Pulse on Bedtime Procrastination

You Snooze, You Win!

The Rest of Your Life

Resources

Sleep health composites are associated with the risk of heart disease across sex and race

1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep

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