"Exercise regularly and eat right to keep cardiovascular disease at bay." The chances are that this the most often heard advice when it comes to managing your heart health. As much as you need proper diet and exercise for the heart to keep it healthy; its just one part of the equation. Not many of us realize that regular exercise and eating right cannot make up for the damage from exertion and burnouts. Sleeping right and giving rest to your body is equally important and needs to be an integral part of your health regime.
Hectic work schedules, frequent travel, sedentary lifestyles, and busy family lives have led to the depriortization of sleep and down time for us.
If you stay awake late at night to strike-off every item on your daily to-do list or regularly binge-watch Netflix, you are warding off sleep at the cost of your heart health. Read on to learn how to embrace sleeping right for a healthy heart.
What's The Link Between a Good Night's Sleep and a Healthier Heart?
It's true that lack of sleep is not a direct cause of a heart attack, but it can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Good-quality sleep gives your heart the much-needed rest by reducing its work and lowering the blood pressure and heart rate at night. On the other hand, lack of sleep increases insulin resistance, a risk factor for the development of type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Reduced sleep also leads to heightened stress and consequently elevates heart rates.
That's not all, shortened sleep can increase C-Reactive Protein (CRP), which is released with stress and inflammation and is a known risk factor for cardiovascular and heart disease. The rise in CRP may also make you eat more OR eat foods that are not heart-healthy. Poor sleepers more likely to be obese, which enhances the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
So, in essence, your mom was right when she objected to you being a night owl. You may want to think twice before you decide to stay awake late into the night. Remember, snoozing is not a waste of time but is vital to replenish your body's energy supply!
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
Sleep like a log for six-to-seven hours a day and you are likely to get up refreshed and ready to take on the day. Though you need to ensure you get enough be careful not to overdo it. A couple of hours helps rejuvenate your body; one too many can have adverse impact on your health. As is with all things, moderation is key.
What About the Quality of Sleep?
Long, deep sleep has a calming and rejuvenating impact on both the body and the mind. Sleep preps you to meet the challenges of life, head-on. Problems like sleep apnea (a breathing disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep) lead to poor heart-health and a greater chance of cardiovascular problems.
Poor sleeping habits as a result of changing work schedules can further put you at risk of heart disease. So, make it a point to ensure there isn't anything keeping from a well-rested night. If there is, reach out to physician to figure out how you can tackle it best.
How Can I Sleep Well?
Now that we know that sleeping well is as essential as undertaking a regular exercise for the heart, don't ignore one at the cost of the other. Try to include optimal proportions of both in your daily routines for a healthy mind and body. Making an effort to follow the same sleep pattern on most days (including weekends!) can help. Give the stimulants a skip, too, like coffee and nicotine, and avoid large meals a few hours before you hit the sack for a long, peaceful and a relaxed sleep. Try some calming teas instead - like chamomile.
It is easy to ignore sleep when work, meeting, deadlines and planning chores are the order of the day. But it is just as crucial to not lose sight of what's best for you and what trade-off you're making. A good night's sleep isn't just good for your heart but also helps reduces stress and obesity. A glowing complexion and fewer wrinkles are added bonus! So, go on ... sleep tight and hit the snooze button without a guilt!
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