Skip to Content

Wake up to the connection between sleep and heart health

4 minute read
GH22 Sleep Allergy Katy O Toole NP 10 1060x500 ext jpg

When it comes to your heart, you probably need more sleep. Good shut-eye time is as important to your heart health as what you eat and how much you exercise, according to recent studies.
Sleep time gives your heart a chance to recover from its daily workout and helps your body relax. Less strain on your heart during this downtime also lowers your blood pressure and slows your heart rate.
You wake up rested, refreshed and ready to go – unless your Z-time isn’t quite as good as you think.

Sleep problems triple risk of heart disease

 Poor sleep happens for several reasons. You may have trouble falling asleep. Or you may wake up a time or two each night. If you sleep less than seven hours a night, you may put your heart and overall health in jeopardy for big problems.

 One in four adults gets too little or too much sleep. Left untreated, sleep problems are linked to higher risk for a host of chronic conditions.

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Depression

Irregular sleep patterns can lead to unhealthy habits that double your risk for heart and vascular disease. When you’re tired, your stress level goes up as your interest in physical activity goes down. You’re more likely to eat too much – and choose the wrong kinds of foods.

6 tips to get better sleep

Here are ways to relax, let go and get your rest.
Make sleep a priority. Set aside at least seven hours for a good night’s sleep. Keep a consistent bedtime and wake time, even on weekends.
Limit screen time. Give your brain a break by setting a shut-down time at least an hour before bedtime for phones, TV, computers, tablets and other digital devices.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine later in the day. Keep natural sleep rhythms in sync and feel more rested in the morning by limiting alcohol consumption. Say good night to restless sleep by skipping caffeinated beverages in the afternoon.
Move, move, move. Boost blood flow, breathing and heart rate with a daily dose of exercise. Physical activity also helps you sleep better.
Set up a sleep zone. Move your phone – and charger – to another room. Encourage animal companions to sleep in their own bed.
Keep cool. Set your room temperature between 65° and 67°F while you sleep. A dark, quiet, clean sleeping space also helps.

Get treatment for sleep disorders

Everyone misses a little sleep now and then. But drowsiness, interrupted sleep, snoring or gasping for breath may signal a sleep disorder or other medical condition that needs attention.
Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing for brief periods of time during the night. That affects how much oxygen your body gets while you sleep. You are at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke if you leave sleep apnea unchecked.
Take a simple self-assessment quiz to help you understand your risk for obstructive sleep apnea. The higher the score on the STOP BANG scale, the more severe your risk.
Insomnia can interfere with your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep or get good quality sleep. You end up tired during the day and may have difficulty concentrating on everyday tasks.
Two out of three adults suffer from occasional sleeplessness. Short-term problems with sleep may stem from stress or changes in your routine.
Insomnia that affects your sleep most nights of the week for several months may be a sign of a chronic condition. It also increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.
Talk with your doctor about sleep concerns, whether you get too little sleep or too much. Your heart will thank you!
Sleep disorders and allergies can affect anyone at any age. At Goshen Physicians Sleep & Allergy Medicine, we treat a wide range of conditions to help you sleep better and breathe easier. Call (574) 534-9911 for an appointment with a sleep and allergy specialist.

Are you a new or existing patient?