Essential Guide to Sleep’s Impact on Heart Health: Tips and Facts You Need to Know
We know inadequate sleep poses numerous health risks, and your heart health is chief among them. Approximately 10% to 15% of the population are dealing with insomnia, and almost 44% of those with heart problems indicate enduring frequent bouts of insomnia, a familiar symptom of heart failure.
Early development of an irregular heartbeat is more likely for younger people with insomnia than their peers without it. Sleep is now on the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 list of vital elements to support a healthy heart and brain.
Sleep and Your Health
Normally, we go through 4 to 6 sleep cycles each night consisting of three Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and one Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage. Our brain recuperates and clears debris that accumulates throughout the day during these cycles through the glymphatic system.
This vital process can only happen when our rest allows us to pass through all four stages, completing a full sleep cycle. Sleep disruptions can prevent this essential process from being completed.
In other words, without proper rest, our brain cannot restore all necessary functions to maintain a healthy heart and body.
Virtually every system in our body benefits when we achieve sufficient restorative sleep, and every aspect of our health suffers when we do not.
Regarding our heart and cardiovascular system, insufficient and disrupted sleep can create blood pressure issues, increasing the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. On the other hand, adequate restorative sleep can help prevent cardiovascular issues and become a component of a heart-healthy strategy.
Sleep & Blood Pressure Connection
Our blood pressure typically drops by 10 – 20% in a night of normal, healthy sleep, known as nocturnal dipping. Lack of sleep and interrupted sleep disrupt this process, resulting in non-dipping and preventing our blood pressure from reducing at night.
Not only is elevated blood pressure at night linked to hypertension, but it is also a better indicator of heart problems than daytime hypertension. This condition also increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney problems, and poor blood flow to the brain.
Research indicates arteriosclerosis is another unwelcome outcome of poor sleep. Arteriosclerosis is a condition where plaque (white blood cells that accumulate in the arteries) develops due to inflammation.
Insufficient rest initiates chronic inflammation, contributing to arteriosclerosis.
Our heart rate will drop during the NREM stages, then begin to increase as we awaken. A sudden uptick in heart rate can result from poor sleep and abrupt awakenings, contributing to potential issues like irregular heartbeat or palpitations.
A Double-Edged Sword
Poor, insufficient, and disrupted sleep can lead to serious health issues, including cardiovascular disease, creating an unhealthy cycle. Conversely, poor heart health can also make it difficult to sleep, potentially causing insomnia.
Sleep must be a priority for people enduring cardiovascular issues to protect them from developing further problems. Evidence indicates that improving sleep can lower the risk of heart attacks or similar issues in those at a higher risk.
Living with heart problems and cardiovascular issues can be stressful. The anxiety and worry regarding our heart health make it difficult to calm our racing mind to fall asleep and stay asleep.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately, you can manage your sleep to achieve a better health outcome. Whether you suffer from heart and cardiovascular disease, insomnia, or any other condition hindering adequate rest, the tools and techniques to improve your situation are available.
Establishing a consistent bedtime and wake-up time is a good start. Maintaining your bedroom for only sleep or sex is crucial in your struggle for proper rest.
Good sleep hygiene is essential for achieving the rest you need and want. Along with a consistent bedtime, turning the lights down in the evening can prepare your brain for rest.
Avoiding screens like TVs, laptops, and phones is essential because these devices emanate blue light that causes hyper-arousal and keeps you from sleeping.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol consumption in the evening, and refrain from eating before you turn in. Making time for meditation, yoga, or merely winding down in the evening before bed are wise strategies.
Taking a brief break between tasks throughout the day is a simple yet effective way of reducing your stress at night. Insomnia isn’t only a nighttime issue; you must deal with it 24/7.
If you’ve tried all the above already and are still struggling with sleep then most likely you are caught in what we refer to as the “sleep paradox” which is the harder you try to sleep, the worse you sleep. This is a common underlying psychological pattern that can keep those trying to improve their sleep stuck. The good news is there is a solution to breaking free from this pattern.
If poor sleep, interrupted sleep, and insomnia threaten your health and well-being then making restorative rest a priority is essential for maintaining health and a happy, productive life.
One of the most disturbing outcomes of poor sleep is the many cardiovascular and heart issues that can develop. Heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, heart failure, and much more are waiting on the other side of poor sleep and insufficient restorative rest.
Employing the right strategies to overcome sleeplessness and insomnia can reduce the threat of heart disease and poor health. Finding the proper support to keep you focused and engaged in solving these issues is essential and can make the difference between success or more sleepless nights.
Sleep Science Academy’s uniquely empowering, science-based program of Dynamic Sleep Recalibration (DSR) provides exactly the support you will need to eliminate insomnia for life. We do it every day for hundreds of clients.
Each client works with their certified holistic health/sleep coach, who creates a personal plan to fit their situation and needs from the numerous methods and techniques in the SSA arsenal. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), Mindfulness, Acceptance Therapy, and Positive Psychology Techniques are just a few available strategies.
With our 97% success rate and 100% money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose and your health to gain.