Is lack of sleep causing a disruption in your day-to-day life? An impact on your normal functions – work, appetite, school - might not be where it stops. A recent statement made in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation, sheds some light on a connection between lack of sleep and an increase in cardiovascular related risk factors.
There is a point where a lack of sleep and these cardiovascular risk factors can be connected. The results of this lack of sleep can lead to heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, stroke, and unhealthy levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
So how much sleep do we need? Research shows that adults need at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Although doctors have been able to make this connection between lack of sleep and heart disease, it is unclear exactly why the two are related. In fact, a similar connection has also been found in people who sleep too much – more than 9 hours a night. Sleep issues are linked to stress, increased blood pressure, and adrenaline secretion, which are all factors in a rise in heart disease. Additionally, many serious sleep disorders – for instance, sleep apnea – show a high correlation to those with cardiovascular problems like hypertension, heart failure and stroke.
While it’s not always easy to treat heart disease, improving your sleep can be a simple process and is an easy place to start. A healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding caffeine and stimulants, not smoking and reducing your stress level are all recommended ways of improving sleep habits. As with any health issues, it’s important to consult your doctor and determine what the best solution is to meet your needs.
The doctors at The Woman's Clinic in Jackson, MS, are here to help you through all stages of life. If you have concerns about heart disease risks, please contact us today.