January 20, 2023 3 min read
As you may or may not know, heart disease is the #1 cause of death in American adults and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
That should be of concern to all of us.
Societal changes over the past half decade or so have had devastating negative impacts on our overall health and especially our heart health.
Inactivity, poor diets, overconsumption of alcohol or drugs and stimulants, stress, and sleep deprivation all are major contributing factors to the deterioration of our heart’s ability to function properly.
The good news is that a lot of these risk factors are within control with a bit of discipline and intention.
And one of those factors we can focus on to improve is our sleep quality.
Sleep is essential for our health and well being, and research has shown it to play significantly into the health of our hearts.
As we know, sleep gives our bodies the opportunity to repair and rejuvenate and that is true for our cardiovascular system as well.
The proper amount of sleep and quality of sleep has been linked to lower blood pressure and risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Conversely, the lack of sleep has an inverse negative impact and increases those risks.
Some studies have shown that people who sleep less than 6 hours per night had a 48% more likelihood of developing or dying from coronary heart disease and a 65% higher risk of stroke with people who slept less than 5 hours per night in comparison to those who slept between 6-8 hours per night.
Also, lack of sleep can cause an increase in the stress hormone cortisol that can raise blood pressure and inflammation throughout the body.
In addition, poor sleep and lack of sleep has been theorized to lead to an increase in appetite (especially for sugary, high calorie meals) due to increased ghrelin (hunger hormone) which can potentially lead us down a dangerous path towards obesity and metabolic issues.
I would recommend 6-8 hours of sleep per night to encourage and promote heart health with the optimal time 8 hours for most people.
Some quick tips to help you get in a healthy sleep pattern are to try to avoid stimulating activities like tv or phone/computer time, and creating a solid sleep schedule to stick to as closely as possible.
Other things like limiting caffeine, keeping your bedroom cool and dark, and meditation will also help to get us in a positive environment conducive to sleep.
Natural sleep support supplementation can also play a huge role in providing the necessary nutrients to get your body in its optimal state for productive sleep. Oftentimes, we just lack the foundational elements and building blocks required to initiate our natural sleep cycles.
Lastly, if you suspect you may have serious sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea, I would encourage you to speak with your physician to evaluate if this is in fact the case.
These disorders that disrupt sleep can be very detrimental to cardiovascular health and should be taken very seriously.
So as we can see, sleep plays a huge role in promoting cardiovascular health and a lack of sleep can be detrimental to heart health.
Start today making sleep a priority to improve heart function, overall health and general well-being…
And reap the benefits and peace of mind with your strong and healthy…
“Heart of Gold”.
Kirk Parsley, MD
P.S Check out my most recent podcast on Power Athlete Radio with John Welbourn and Chris McQuilkin.