We all know that high levels of inflammation in our body lead to a higher risk of heart disease.1
We also know that an active lifestyle helps sustain – a “healthy ticker.”
But did you know that a good night’s sleep, is not only a proper counterpart to an active life, it helps to battle inflammation in the body and is crucial for good heart health?
Don’t worry, we didn’t either!
An interesting study looked at sleep and cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. During 10-15 years of follow-up,
Short sleepers (less than 6 hours) had a 23% higher risk of coronary artery disease compared to normal sleepers (more than 7 hours) after adjusting for all other possible factors.
Short sleepers with poor sleep quality had a 79% higher risk of heart disease when compared to normal sleepers with good sleep quality.
Interestingly, sleeping longer than 9 hours seemed to provide no benefit.2
Other long-term studies identify that both sleep duration and sleep quality independently increase our risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but their combined effects together on mortality, pose a substantially higher risk.3
*TAKE HOME: Aim to get 8 hours of QUALITY sleep each night to help normalize blood pressure and inflammation.
Easier said than done?
Before we address the causes of poor sleep though let’s take a brief look at what else might be happening when we don’t prioritize quality sleep.
Recent studies suggest an association between sleep duration and weight gain.
Sleeping less than five hours, or more than nine hours per night, appears to increase the likelihood of weight gain.
A study showed that women who slept less than six hours a night were more likely to gain 11 pounds (5 kg) compared with women who slept seven hours a night.
One explanation may be sleep duration affects the hormones regulating hunger—ghrelin and leptin—and stimulates the appetite.Obviously, the longer you are awake, the more time there is to eat. Another contributing factor may be lack of sleep leads to fatigue and results in less physical activity.4
Not surprisingly another study found that, recurrent sleep deprivation in men increased their preference for high-calorie foods and their overall calorie intake.
Other studies suggest that poor sleep is also associated with:
- Brain fog, Memory loss and Alzheimer’s.5
- Decreased immune system function.6
- Anxiety and irritability.7
Let’s now look at two blogs that will offer you lots of tips to help ensure that you get a gold star sleep
1.Physiol. Behav.2010 Dec2;101(5):693-8
3.PLoS One.2014 Apr 3;9(4):e91965
4.Journal of sleep Research.2011;20:298
5. Spira. A. Impact of Sleep on the Risk of Cognitive Decline and Dementia Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2014 Nov; 27(6): 478–483.
7. Goldstein.Tired and Apprehensive: Anxiety Amplifies the Impact of Sleep Loss on Aversive Brain Anticipation. J Neurosci. 2013 Jun 26; 33(26): 10607–10615.