Sleep is good for our heart health!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

How much sleep do you need for a healthy heart?

  1. 5 hrs
  2. 6-8 hrs
  3. 8-10 hrs
  4. 12 hrs

If you answered b) 6-8 hours – you are correct!

So, are you getting at least 6 hours of sleep a night?

A study published January 14th 2019 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) has shown that a lack of sleep can lead to a rise in fatty plaque accumulation in our arteries which is commonly referred to as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is known to increase our risk of heart attack and stroke.

What the study showed is that people that slept less than six hours a night were more likely to have throughout the body an accumulation of atherosclerosis than those that slept seven to eight hours a night.

What was really interesting that you would think the more you sleep the better it would be for your health. However, this study did not show this to be the case. In fact, what the study found was if you slept more than eight hours a night, it increased your risk of atherosclerosis.

In addition, poor quality sleepers that is people that woke throughout the night or had difficulty getting to sleep had a 34% increase in atherosclerosis compared with people who sleep well. These people also tended to consume more caffeine and alcohol actually is disruptive to the quality of our sleep.

Although this study has not shown a clear cause and effect direct relationship between sleep and heart health this study does suggest that sleeping 6-8 hrs a night is good for us and can lead to healthier arteries.

It is important to note it is not just about how long you sleep but, the quality of your sleep is also paramount. It is not necessarily quantity over quality.

The quality of your sleep is needed for healthy arteries and a healthy heart.

So, enjoy your sleep, take a tip from Goldilocks not too much of it, not too little of it but, just enough of it that is high quality as it is important for our overall health and wellbeing.