Sleep Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Even young and healthy individuals may be at risk for developing factors of heart disease when deprived of sleep.

By Joe Castignani

You know the drill. If you want a healthy heart, you need to exercise for 30 minutes a day, eat a healthy diet, check your cholesterol, and keep your blood pressure under control.

This is all great advice! But as it turns out, there may still be a major component that you hadn’t considered for a healthy cardiovascular system.

Let’s look at the research.

A new study published by The American Heart Association reveals that healthy sleep habits play a big role in heart health and even short durations of poor sleep can negatively impact your heart health.

And notably, research from Dr. Virend Somers of the Mayo Clinic indicates that even healthy young adults may suffer early indicators of heart disease when deprived of sleep. Sleep-deprived participants experienced an increase in blood pressure both during the daytime and while sleeping. This inability of blood vessels to properly dilate is a predictor of future cardiovascular disease.

Simply stated, even young and healthy individuals may be at risk for developing factors of heart disease when deprived of sleep.

Poor sleep can also affect the body's ability to regulate glucose levels, which can contribute to the development of Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes is a significant risk factor for heart disease, as it can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

So, what can we do to ensure a good night's sleep and protect our heart health?

First and foremost, it is essential to prioritize sleep in our daily routines. This means setting a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and creating a relaxing sleep environment.

These same steps are especially critical for teens and college students as well. No longer is pulling an all-nighter to cram for an exam or depending on heavily caffeinated drinks to make it through your day a simple rite of passage. Establishing good sleep habits today is essential for a healthy heart tomorrow.

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Dream big, work hard, sleep ambitiously,

Joe Castignani