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The fact that sleep affects almost every aspect of our health is widely known at this point, but did you know that the amount of sleep you get has an affect on both heart health and heart failure? A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found out exactly how much the hours of sleep collected each night increases the risk of heart problems, regardless of other determining factors.
Eating well and doing daily physical activity are easy ways to keep your heart beating strong, but sleep is just as important. When you get enough sleep, your body can repair itself, lower your heart rate, and keep its chemical output stable. However, when you go through sleep deprivation, your body’s chemistry is unbalanced, leading to high blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
An international team of researchers set out to discover exactly how sleep duration affects myocardial infarction (MI), AKA heart attack, and Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).
Researchers from both the United States and the UK collected and analyzed the medical records (and thus, self-reported sleep habits) of 461,347 people. All of the participants were from the UK, aged between 40-69, and free of cardiovascular disease.
The findings of the study were as follows:
Simply broken down: if you sleep too much or too little, your risk of heart attack goes up significantly. This is especially true if you sleep longer than 9 hours per night.
But, the participants that had predetermined risk factors for MI and CAD cut that risk down by 18% just because they slept between 6-9 hours each night.
The senior author of this study, Dr. Celine Vetter states, “This provides some of the strongest proof yet that sleep duration is a key factor when it comes to heart health, and this holds true for everyone.” Regardless, of your current heart health or genetics, poor sleeping habits can impact your risk of attack.
Dr. Vetter goes on to outline your exact risk based on the hours of sleep you are getting:
The best way to offset this increased risk of MI or CAD is to optimize your sleep and get between the recommended hours. Here are 3 tips for getting better sleep:
Sleep is still one of our three most basic needs as humans, and it links to most health problems. This study only proves that the heart is no exception, so try to get enough sleep, but not too much sleep.