heart health

heart health

Along with a balanced diet and frequent exercise, good heart health necessitates getting enough sleep. Our bodies use the time we spend sleeping not only to rest but also to repair and regenerate. Chronic sleep loss can cause a variety of physical and mental health problems. 


Cardiovascular health is one critical area that is adversely impacted by sleep deprivation. Through the analysis of two significant research, this article seeks to provide light on the relationship between sleep deprivation and heart health, with a focus on men’s health.


Understanding the Importance of Sleep


The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that governs how the human body functions. Numerous physiological functions, such as hormone secretion, blood pressure, and heart rate are influenced by this rhythm. Assuming we receive enough sleep, these systems typically function flawlessly. When we don’t, our bodies are forced to balance things out, which is frequently to our detriment.


Sleep deprivation affects more than just how you feel. Reduced cognition, compromised immune system, and the emergence of chronic diseases are all effects of insufficient sleep. Notably, inadequate sleep has a negative impact on cardiovascular health.


Study 1: Sleep Duration and Myocardial Infarction (2019)


2019 saw the publication of a significant study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that clarified the connection between sleep and heart health. approximately a seven-year period, the researchers examined genetic data from approximately 461,000 UK Biobank participants who were healthy at baseline and had no significant cardiovascular illness.


The duration of sleep was discovered to have a U-shaped connection with myocardial infarction (heart attack). A higher risk was linked to both short sleep durations (under six hours) and long sleep durations (over nine hours). It is noteworthy that this link persisted even after other risk factors including smoking, diabetes, and physical exercise were taken into account.


Although men were not the only participants in the study, the results have important implications for men’s heart health. Men are more likely than women to develop heart disease, so it’s important to control all risk factors, including sleep.


Study 2: Sleep Duration and Quality: Impact on Lifestyle Behaviors and Cardiometabolic Health (2016)


Using evidence-based reviews, a second study by St-Onge et al. that was released in Circulation in 2016 showed the negative impact of inadequate sleep on heart health. It focused in particular on the impact of sleep quantity and quality on nutrition, exercise, and cardiometabolic health.


Short sleep duration, poor sleep quality, and sleep disorders, according to the study’s findings, are linked to poorer food habits, less physical activity, and higher levels of cardiometabolic risk factors. Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and general cardiovascular disease were among these risk factors.


Recommended Reading: Navigating Heart Medications: A Guide


These results highlight the significance of getting enough sleep for heart health, particularly for men who have higher underlying cardiometabolic risk than women. Although complex, the relationship between sleep, lifestyle choices, and cardiovascular health points to a preventable risk pathway.


The Way Forward


These studies highlight the significance of receiving enough high-quality sleep for preserving heart health. Due to their increased risk of cardiovascular disorders due to their genetic makeup, men in particular need to be aware of these results. 


Patients should be informed about the critical role that sleep plays in overall health, and healthcare providers should think about including screening for sleep problems as part of routine health exams. Treatment for sleep problems, as well as interventions like bettering sleep hygiene and cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia, may be helpful.


In conclusion, getting enough decent sleep is essential for maintaining heart health. It’s time to give sleep the same importance as food and exercise.


Written by: Dr Michael MacDonald MB ChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP (UK), MD (Research), FESC (Europe).  Dr MacDonald was trained in the UK and is a senior Consultant Cardiologist.

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