The Role of Sleep in Heart Health
Health and Wellness

The Role of Sleep in Heart Health

The heart is essential to our overall well-being, pumping blood all over the body and making sure all tissues and organs receive sufficient oxygen. As factors like limited exercise, smoking and poor diet can negatively impact our heart health, there has been increasing recognition of how sleep deprivation can also have an adverse effect.

Sleep is essential for physical and psychological well-being. Unfortunately, every 1 in 3 adults in the United States does not get the recommended 7 hours of shut-eye each night.

Lack of sleep has been linked to numerous issues, such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Research shows that people don’t spend enough time in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages when their blood pressure drops, heart rate slows and breathing stabilizes.

Short-term sleep deprivation has also been linked to increased sympathetic nervous system activity, an important factor in the pathophysiology of hypertension and diabetes mellitus. 

To learn more about the role of sleep in heart health, continue reading. 


Does Sleep Affect Your Heart Health?

For your heart to function optimally, get plenty of restful, uninterrupted sleep each night. This allows your body to recover from day-long stresses and helps regulate heart rate, blood pressure, breathing patterns, and digestion.

Sleep is especially essential if you have any heart conditions. People with high blood pressure or a history of heart attacks may be more prone to experiencing insomnia or other forms of sleep disorders.

Furthermore, those suffering from narcolepsy have an increased likelihood of having hypertension while sleeping due to the additional strain placed on your heart by taking medications to reduce symptoms. As a result, those taking medication for narcolepsy also face an increased risk for cardiovascular issues.

A study from the University of Birmingham in England has revealed that people who regularly deviate from their regular sleep patterns are at higher risk for developing atrial fibrillation. It is a heart condition caused when electrical impulses from multiple places within your atria cause your heart to beat irregularly.


How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart Health?

Sleep is an integral component of heart health, yet many people either don’t get enough or suffer from a sleep disorder. Sleep gives your body time to repair and recuperate. In the  NREM (non-rapid eye movement) stages of sleep, your breathing stabilizes, your heart rate slows and blood pressure drops. These changes promote healing within your heart while relieving stress on it.

Sleep is essential for overall health and can help reduce risk factors associated with heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity. Not only that, but sleep also plays an integral role in mental well-being.

Insufficient sleep can increase your appetite and tempt you to consume unhealthy food, especially sugary treats. This may make it harder to maintain a healthy weight as well as disrupt how the body metabolizes food which could lead to elevated blood sugar levels and an increased risk for diabetes and obesity.

Some individuals are more at risk for heart problems due to sleep issues. For instance, those who experience sleep apnea in which they stop repeatedly breathing during the night. They have an increased likelihood of developing heart disease. 


How does Sleep Deprivation Affect Your Heart?

Sleep is essential for your heart’s well-being. It helps your body recover from the stresses and strains it endures during the day, giving it a much-needed break. Unfortunately, lack of proper sleep can have serious adverse effects on your heart and other parts of the body. Here is how lack of sleep affects your heart. 


Sleep and Blood Pressure

Sleep is essential for the human body to heal and rejuvenate. Without adequate rest, you may feel tired throughout the day, increasing your risk for high blood pressure or heart disease. Science supports the link between inadequate sleep and hypertension. Studies have revealed that short sleep duration, working a night shift, or having obstructive sleep apnea are all linked with higher blood pressure levels. Even one night of poor sleep can significantly raise blood pressure and heart rate in individuals with hypertension.


Sleep and Coronary Heart Disease

Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increasing body of research showing how it can negatively impact the heart. Insufficient sleep can also contribute to the build-up of plaque in arteries, increasing your risk for coronary heart disease. This occurs because chronic inflammation caused by lack of shut-eye causes white blood cells to gather inside arteries and harden.


Sleep and Heart Failure

Sleep deprivation has numerous detrimental effects on the heart. It alters blood pressure and elevates heart rate and sympathetic nervous system activity. Research reveals that individuals with sleep issues, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, are much more likely to experience cardiac events like a stroke or heart failure.


Sleep and Heart Attacks

Sleep plays a critical role in the health of your heart. During non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages, your heart rate slows, and your blood pressure lowers. These modifications allow your organ to recover from daylong stressors, decreasing your risk for heart disease or attacks.


Sleep and Obesity

Sleep deprivation can have a detrimental effect on your heart health. Without enough sleep, your body releases hormones that stimulate appetite and cause you to consume more calories than normal. It can lead to problems like obesity. Sleeping more can also help you make healthier food decisions, which could ultimately lead to weight loss. 


Sleep and Chest Pain

People who lack sleep often complain of chest pain and a racing heart. These symptoms could be indicative of various medical issues, such as high blood pressure. Insufficient sleep can also lead to angina or chest pain. This occurs when the heart doesn’t receive enough blood supply and oxygen. 


Sleep Tips for People with Heart Problems

Sleep is essential for good health and preventing cardiovascular disease. Here are some tips to help you get enough shut-eye even if you have heart issues.

  • Set A Regular Bedtime And Wakeup Time
  • Develop Strategies For Relaxation
  • Eliminate Distractions
  • Avoid Negative Influences On Sleep
  • Choose The Right Sleeping Position
  • Lower Your Stress Levels
  • Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
  • Avoid Caffeine Before Bed
  • Avoid Sugary Foods Before Bed
  • Keep Your Bedroom Cool and Dark
  • Avoid Electronic Devices Before Bed


In Conclusion

Lack of sleep has been linked to high blood pressure (hypertension), which is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In addition to elevated blood pressure, prolonged periods of inadequate sleep can cause inflammation. Studies have indicated that sleep deprivation increases the risk of arrhythmia and coronary artery disease, potentially leading to heart failure. In order to keep your heart healthy, you need at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. One beneficial tip is to set a consistent bedtime and wake-up time each day. If you still have problems sleeping, it is best to consult a professional for help. 


The Role of Sleep in Heart Health_

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