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How Does Sleep Affect Heart Health? Here’s What You Need to Know

How Does Sleep Affect Heart Health? Here’s What You Need to Know

Did you know that not having enough sleep can have adverse effects on your health? In fact, it can have an impact on your heart. But how does sleep affect heart health? And how much sleep should you be getting daily? Find out the answers to these questions and more, below.

How Does Sleep Affect Heart Health?

Sleeping is something that a lot of people take for granted. Especially these days, when staying up late seems to be the norm. However, aside from causing you to feel tired or cranky, lack of sleep can have more serious effects on your health.

To answer the question of “How does sleep affect heart health?”, we need to understand what happens to the body whenever we fall asleep.

Whenever we go to sleep, our blood pressure starts to go down. This is because we don’t really do any activities when sleeping, so our body brings down our blood pressure to about 10%-20% lower than normal. Because our blood pressure goes down when we sleep, this means that if a person spends a lot of time awake, then they maintain a higher blood pressure for longer1. This is especially problematic if a person already has high blood pressure to begin with.

Another thing that sleep does is it allows the heart to recover from constantly pumping blood throughout the body. As our blood pressure goes down when we sleep, so does our heart rate. This gives the heart enough time to “rest” and to recover, so that when we wake up, it’s ready for another busy day.

Sleep deprivation has also been found to increase a person’s risk of atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup inside arteries. Lack of sleep can lead to chronic inflammation, which can increase plaque formation in the arteries.

These are just a few of the reasons of how sleep can affect heart health.

Sleep Can Affect More Than Your Heart

How does sleep affect heart health? Aside from the heart, sleep can also have other detrimental effects on the body. First off, lack of sleep can make a person tired or fatigued, and can contribute to stress. Not having enough sleep can also make a person more irritable, and this also contributes to stress3.

Of course, if you lack sleep then you might find yourself feeling tired or lacking energy throughout the day. This means that you might not be as productive at work, or you might not have the energy to do the things that you wanted to do that day.

Lack of sleep can also affect a person’s metabolism. This disruption of a person’s metabolism can also contribute to weight gain, which can increase the risk of problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Another effect of lack of sleep is that it can weaken your immune system. This can make you more prone to getting sick, and can become a serious problem over time.

These are just some of the reasons why you need to get enough sleep each night. In addition, getting enough sleep can also have a lot of benefits to your health.

How Can You Sleep Better?

How does sleep affect heart health? Now that we know how sleep can affect heart health, how can you go about with getting enough sleep?

What you can do first is to try and slowly catch up on sleep. If you tend to sleep for just 6 hours a day or less, try to increase it by an hour. Once you are able to do that for a week, then you can try to increase your sleep duration until you get a full 8 hours of sleep.

Avoiding caffeinated drinks, using your smartphone, and dimming the lights can also make it easier for you to fall asleep. For some people, drinking tea, smelling lavender essential oils, and meditating can make going to sleep easier.

Either way, when it comes to how does sleep affect heart health, the important thing to remember is to not get discouraged. It can take some time to adjust your body clock, and it’s a good idea to be patient so that you can eventually figure out what you need.

Learn more about Hypertension here.

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Sources
  1. How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Heart | Sleep Foundation, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-deprivation/how-sleep-deprivation-affects-your-heart, Accessed October 5, 2021
  2. How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart Health? | cdc.gov, https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/sleep.htm, Accessed October 5, 2021
  3. The dangers of sleep deprivation | American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/news/2020/06/05/the-dangers-of-sleep-deprivation, Accessed October 5, 2021
  4. Why lack of sleep is bad for your health – NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/, Accessed October 5, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated 2 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza