We all know that adequate sleep helps you to function better at work, get along better with your family members, and even stick to a weight loss plan more successfully. But now, recent research published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, points to another benefit of quality sleep. Getting enough sleep each night, and getting more high quality sleep, can actually help to protect you from heart disease.
Over a period of about ten years, scientists followed 40,000 study participants to track their sleep patterns and health outcomes. Certain factors were used to measure sleep quality, such as duration, snoring, insomnia, bedtimes, and daytime napping. After using these data points to compile sleep scores for each participant, scores were then compared to health outcomes by the end of the study.
What they found was promising for those who hope to ward off heart disease: Those with higher sleep scores benefited from a 42 percent reduction in the risk of heart failure as compared to participants with lower sleep scores. Heart failure was also less likely for those who wake early, those who sleep between seven and nine hours per day, people who don’t frequently experience insomnia, and participants who did not report frequent daytime sleepiness.
On the other hand, those who sleep fewer than six hours per night face a 20 percent increased risk of a heart attack.
We know that sleep is when the body repairs damage, and healthy sleep can also promote the correct hormonal balances that keep us functioning well. And if you’re following a weight loss plan, healthy sleep can help you stay energized for workouts and prevent hormone swings that trigger cravings. If you aren’t getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night (that means no excessive waking), it’s time to renovate your sleep environment and habits. Getting more sleep could quite literally save your life.
As for your weight loss plan, or general prevention of age-related disease, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We can help you identify your risk factors and make dietary and other adjustments to keep you healthy.