Contributed by- Dr. Snehal Singh
Did you know that lack of sleep can cause heart problems? Yes, it is true, inadequate sleep can affect health drastically and even increase the risk of heart disorders.
Those tossing and turning in the bed and frequent sleepless nights can lead to some major health disorders. For most us lack of proper sleep is synonymous to lethargy, irritation, anxiety or lack of energy but very few of us are aware about the affects of sleep disorder on heart. The simple harsh truth is that the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life is. It is extremely important to get the recommended 6-8 hours of daily sleep to rejuvenate and restore the energy levels of the body.
Stop taking your sleep for granted, ignoring sleep disorders can only be foolish as sleep is vital for our healthy survival. Good quality sleep is not only essential for good health but also to reduce the risk of several ailments and heart problems. It is important to discover the mysteries behind sleep disorders and heart problems, let us read to know.
Sleep And Heart Risk – The Connection
Sleep is a natural process which helps in healing of our body cells. It is recommended to have 6-8 hours of sleep daily to energize our body and get it ready for a new day. So, the important question is whether you are getting enough sleep or not?
We all are aware that lack of sleep can make you lethargic the other day. Some people also experience poor concentration, indigestion, headache, fatigue and have body pain too. But that’s not all; these are just the immediate and the possible temporary effects of inadequate sleep. But, inadequate sleep can increase the risk of heart disorders.
Can lack of sleep really increase heart rate or cause palpitations? Can poor sleep cause risk of heart attack? The answer is a big yes! Several research studies have concluded that lack of sleep is linked with increased risk of fast heart rate, high blood pressure or hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD) and even diabetes mellitus.
Here are some of the possible reasons of inadequate sleep that can increase the risk of heart problems:
- Poor sleep quality tends to trigger inflammation in the body. As higher levels of inflammation are a risk factor for heart diseases, inadequate sleep can be harmful
- Sleep deprivation can create hormone imbalance and affect proper functioning of the body systems. This can further result in increased heart rate, high blood pressure with increased risk of vascular damage and plaque deposition in the blood vessels. These factors can increase the risk of heart diseases, heart attack and stroke
- Frequent waking at night can cause excessive stress, which in turn can cause excessive salt intake and reduced salt elimination from the body. This can lead to volume overload, raised blood pressure, resulting in damage to blood vessels and increased risk of heart diseases
Who Is At Risk?
Several conditions like sleep apnoea syndrome, obstructive breathing conditions, chronic pain or frequent urination can cause sleep disturbances. Chronic sleep apnoea which severely affects sleep quality is linked with the increased risk of cardiovascular problems and congestive cardiac failure. Men are at a higher risk of sleep apnoea syndrome, high blood pressure and other factors, including inadequate sleep that increases heart risk. But women too are at risk. Women naturally have different response to stress and may experience increased sleep problems due it.
It is important to know that poor quality sleep is not just a problem caused due to stress or old age, sleep deprivation is really common in teens and adults as well. Studies suggest that sleep deprived teens can have higher body mass index (BMI), bigger waist sizes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and increased risk of high blood pressure, thus greater heart risk.
How To Reduce Heart Risk?
When we talk about adequate sleep, it is not just the duration but also the quality of sleep that matters. Various factors play a key role in deciding the quality of your sleep; so even if you sleep for eight hours disturbed sleep can still cause health problems, sound sleep for 6-8 hours really matters. Inadequate sleep can also be due to irregular work schedules and poor sleep hygiene. As lack of sleep is associated with several health and heart risks, it is wise to make appropriate lifestyle modifications. To reduce your heart risk from inadequate sleep maintain a sleep routine and try to modify your activities accordingly.
While factors like smoking, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes influence your heart risk, the quality and duration of your sleep also plays an important role. Regular check-ups and blood tests help determine blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
In view of having adequate sleep for better heart health, it is necessary to get conditions affecting your sleep diagnosed and treated in time. Blood tests that detect biomarkers like C-reactive protein (CRP) are used to determine cardiac health risks. Know your heart risk with timely health check-ups, blood tests for inflammation, cardiac biomarkers and diabetes.
Just like diet, exercise and healthy routine, adequate sleep is an essential part of your lifestyle. Having regular and healthy sleeping habit can improve health and prevent the risk of heart problems, stroke and lifestyle disorders. So, make sure you have a bed-time routine and get proper rest. Stay active during the day to prevent insomnia and get your sleep problems treated at the earliest.
Lack of sleep can cause health disasters, it is important to work on your sleeping habits as nothing is more important than your health.
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