08 Feb Sleep and Heart Health: A Match Made in Heaven
When it comes to taking care of our bodies, we often think about eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. But did you know that the amount and quality of sleep you get each night can also play a major role in your heart health?
The connection between sleep and heart health is quite strong. Lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease and raise your blood pressure. On the other hand, good sleep can help improve your blood flow and lower your blood pressure.
Here’s a closer look at why sleep is so important for your heart.
The Effects of Lack of Sleep on Heart Health
Lack of sleep can have a significant impact on your heart health. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces stress hormones that can raise your blood pressure and increase inflammation in your body. This combination of elevated blood pressure and inflammation can increase your risk of heart disease. According to Harvard Health Publishing, studies have shown that people who regularly sleep less than 6 hours a night have a higher risk of developing heart disease.
The Benefits of Good Sleep for Heart Health
Good sleep, on the other hand, has a number of benefits for your heart health. When you get enough sleep, your body has time to repair and regenerate, which can improve your blood flow and lower your blood pressure. Additionally, good sleep can help reduce inflammation in your body, which can also lower your risk of heart disease. The National Sleep Foundation states that good sleep can lead to improved cardiovascular function, including lower blood pressure and better blood flow.
How to Improve Sleep for Better Heart Health
So, how can you make sure you’re getting enough good sleep for your heart health? Here are a few tips, courtesy of Olympic Medical Physicians cardiologist, Dr. Kara Urnes:
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. According Dr. Urnes, having a consistent sleep schedule can help improve the quality of your sleep.
- Avoid stimulants before bedtime: Caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep, so it’s best to avoid them for a few hours before bed. Experts recommend avoiding caffeine for at least 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- Try relaxation techniques: Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. The National Sleep Foundation suggests trying relaxation techniques to help calm your mind and body before bedtime.
- Create a sleep-conducive environment: Your sleep environment can have a big impact on the quality of your sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark to promote better sleep. Dr. Urnes recommends creating a sleep-conducive environment to improve the quality of your sleep.
As you now know, sleep and heart health are closely linked. Lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease, while good sleep can improve your heart health. By making sleep a priority and implementing healthy sleep habits, you can take care of your heart and your overall health. So, go ahead and get some zzz’s – your heart will thank you!
Sleep Medicine at Olympic Medical Center
If you’re hoping to get a “thank you” from your heart by addressing your sleep issues, Olympic Medical Sleep Center is here to help. Learn more about how our Sleep Center can take you from a little sleep to a restful sleep and increase your heart health along the way. Ask your primary care provider for a referral or call us at 360-565-0999.