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  Generalistes 2002
July '24

Sleep Eight Hours A Day and Reduce Your Chances of Getting Heart Problems

Very few people link their lack of sleep to heart problems and are only aware of the other effects like sheer exhaustion, impaired coordination, general discomfort, blurred vision and many other health problems. What many people do not know is that lack of sleep can also result in heart disease.

Medical studies have indicated people who are short of sleep have a 48% increased chance of developing heart disease and a 15% increased risk of dying from a stroke. These studies were conducted over a 25 year period and involved about almost half a million people. However, studies also indicated that people who slept for more than nine hours a night had similar increased risk of heart problems or chances of dying from a stroke.

The reason for this link between heart disease and lack of sleep has not been fully understood. The probable cause can be that shortened sleep does not allow the blood pressure to fall sufficiently, as it should after rest, and this probably increases calcification in the arteries, which is a precursor of heart disease. It is therefore very essential that you get at least six hours of sleep every night. When a person has good quality sleep, the heart rate goes down, as well as blood pressure, and this decreases the work the heart has to undertake. Heart rates normally fluctuate when you are active and when you are at rest, and when you are deprived of sleep, the heart rate will stay elevated. Lack of sleep can also increase insulin resistance, which can cause type 2 diabetes, and bring in a risk of heart disease. Less sleep can also affect the regulation of the appetite and you will probably eat more due to midnight snacking, which can increase weight and lead to heart problems.

A lack of sleep can cause a person to go into depression, and lead to a lack of energy. This in turn affects a person’s ability to have the strength to adopt a regular exercise regime. In turn, this can lead to weight problems and obesity, which are major factors that do affect the heart. The working of the immune system also gets affected, when you do not sleep enough, the body becomes more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria, leading to poor health. You will get sick more often and this opens the door to becoming vulnerable to illnesses all of which can affect the heart.

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