You don’t have to think long to remember how great it feels to have a good night’s sleep, but most people have to think about the last time that they were able to get a full eight hours, or even seven hours. According to The Sleep Foundation, roughly 35% of people in the US reported getting fewer than seven hours of sleep per night.
The medical professionals at Prime Heart and Vascular in Allen, Frisco, and Plano, Texas, are here to provide guidance and cardiac care to people living in these cities and their surrounding areas. Rishin Shah, MD, and Kiran Kumar Mangalpally, MD provide expert advice on the best daily habits to protect your heart, including the many benefits of healthy sleep.
What’s the link between sleep and my heart?
Sleep is the body’s chance to reset and recharge. Skin repairs itself with protein and vitamins ingested from food, metabolism slows, and your brain waves change as you rest and slip into your dreams.
Not only can a lack of sleep stop you from feeling your best, it can raise your likelihood of developing heart disease. Periodic lack of sleep is normal and natural, with most people experiencing stress from time-to-time. Extended periods when you aren’t getting enough deep sleep put you at elevated risk for developing several chronic conditions.
Waking during the night raises your blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar is the signature symptom of diabetes mellitus, a chronic condition that affects around 37 million people in the US, with almost 1.5 million new diagnoses every year. An estimated 96 million people are living with prediabetes, and an additional 8.5 million are undiagnosed.
Inadequate or persistent low-quality sleep also raises your risk of gaining weight, putting you at risk for obesity. Carrying extra weight is another risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular issues, making sleep one of the most important elements in protecting your longevity.
What are some tips for better sleep?
Proper sleep hygiene is your best bet for the ideal sleep that you need. Sleep hygiene refers to your relationship with your sleep and how you normally get to sleep. The first rule for proper sleep hygiene is to prepare for sleep at a consistent hour, even on weekends, or while you’re on vacation.
When it gets close to bedtime, stretching, meditation, and soothing sounds may help relax you. Your bedroom should be a few degrees below room temperature and should be completely free of light.
Avoid consuming alcoholic or caffeinated beverages after the late afternoon. Drink water to flush these stimulants from your system. Limit your use of electronic devices in the hours before you get into bed, and stop scrolling, texting, and emailing within an hour of your bedtime.
As our world has become connected and internet-friendly, the temptation to attend virtual meetings and carry out virtual tasks while in bed is understandable. Protect your sleep hygiene by removing your work from your sleeping place. Although stimulating the mind before sleeping isn’t ideal, your mind will be healthier, and your sleep easier, if you choose a book over your phone or laptop.
Getting up at or around the same time every day is also instrumental in proper sleep hygiene, but some people may find waking early on weekends difficult, especially after a long week of hard work. For these issues, exercise can help. A vigorous walk in the morning can help you wake up, and a casual evening stroll after dinner can help you relax.
Proper stress management reduces your risk of insomnia, or difficulty falling asleep. Insomnia is a widespread issue, affecting nearly half of US adults, with women approximately 40% more likely to experience insomnia than men. With all the benefits of proper sleep habits, it’s no wonder that your heart will be healthier because of them.
Help! I can’t sleep.
Your provider at Prime Heart and Vascular and your primary care physician are here to help you establish good sleep habits, which leads to better overall cardiac outcomes. Sleep is essential to all aspects of your health, and it’s important to get the best sleep that you can, as often as possible.
For more assistance and information about the importance of sleep to your heart health, please contact us at 972-295-7017, or book an appointment with us online.