By Roz Jones
Diet and exercise may be the first things that come to mind when you think about taking care of your heart. However, what you do overnight counts too.
Sleep deficiencies can contribute to many heart conditions, and heart troubles can make it difficult to sleep.
Experts have been aware of a link between sleep apnea and high blood pressure for many years. Now, ongoing research is discovering similar interactions related to insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Learn more about how you can use sleep to keep your heart healthy.
Understanding How Sleep Affects Your Heart
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one third of adults get less than the minimum recommendation of seven hours of sleep each night, adding to their risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
What does that mean for you?
Consider these factors:
- Count your hours. Lack of sleep can disrupt your hormones and cause calcium buildup and other changes in your arteries. On the other hand, excessive sleep of more than nine hours is associated with higher health risks too. Most adults need to aim for seven to eight hours nightly.
- Watch your blood pressure. Your heart slows down, and your blood pressure drops while you sleep. This nocturnal dipping gives your body a chance to heal from daily stress. Without this time off, you’re more vulnerable to hypertension and other issues.
- Manage diabetes. Elevated blood sugar can harm your blood vessels. Sleep helps to stabilize blood glucose, lowering your risk for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
- Lose weight. Do you crave fattening foods after a restless night? Studies show that lack of sleep may throw your hunger hormones out of balance, and make you want to overeat. Excess pounds increase inflammation and strain your heart, especially if they settle down around your midsection.
- Reduce sleep apnea. If you snore and feel tired during the day, you may have sleep apnea. This disorder causes you to stop breathing intermittently while you’re asleep, putting you at greater risk for heart attack, stroke, and atrial fibrillation. Ask your doctor about CPAP therapy and other options.
- Minimize disruptions. Even if you go to bed early, frequent interruptions can keep you from enjoying the four essential stages of sleep. The deeper stages of non-rapid eye movement sleep are especially beneficial for your heart. In addition, continuous sleep keeps your heart rate from spiking each time you wake up.
- Learn to relax. It’s natural to feel anxious sometimes, especially in these chaotic times. Relaxation practices can help you to cope and enjoy more restful sleep. Take part each day in activities that help you relax.
Almost 80% of heart disease and stroke are preventable, according to the American Heart Association. Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
Sufficient sleep and other heart healthy habits can lower your risk for many serious medical conditions. Talk with your doctor, so you can figure out which factors are most important for helping you to lead a longer and more active life.
I’ve just launched Shop With Roz, my online store filled with supplies and gifts for every caregiver. You can find a wide variety of products in the store to help yourself and your loved one. Check it out here!
After you have a look through the store, see any products you use and love as a caregiver, and think we should share them with everyone? Let me know!
It’s here, I am so excited to share a new caregiver app called CircleOf….This app will allow you to surround yourself with resources and experts from your community including ME!!!! As you are looking through the app, you will see my familiar face. I’m excited about this partnership and new ways to support you as you support your loved one. Here’s the link so you can explore the app. I would love your feedback and spread the word by sharing the link to family and friends.
Visit http://www.rozjonesent.com for more information on addressing mental health as a caregiver and check out my upcoming book!