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AHA Links Good Sleeping Habits to Less Heart Disease


A new study from the American Heart Association (AHA) found that adults with sleeping habits had fewer cases of heart disease. In fact, their research revealed that those with consistent quality sleep had a 42% lower risk of heart failure.

Even when other risk factors were taken into account, adults with healthy sleep patterns had better health markers than those with unhealthy sleep. The findings have been published in the flagship journal of the American Heart Association. Circulation.

The AHA defined healthy sleep patterns as getting up in the morning and getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per day. Criteria also included not experiencing frequent insomnia, snoring, or extreme daytime sleepiness.

Unfortunately, heart failure affects around 26 million people worldwide, and its prevalence continues to rise. New evidence shows that sleep disruptions may play a role in the development of heart failure.

The American Heart Association study linking decreased heart disease to positive sleep habits

The AHA study investigated the correlation between healthy sleep habits and heart failure and collected data from 408,802 participants from the UK Biobank. The individuals in the study were between 37 and 73 years old when they agreed to participate. The researchers collected data on the incidence of heart failure up to April 1, 2019. They also recorded 5,221 cases of heart failure during a 10-year follow-up period.

For the study, the team analyzed the sleep quality and sleep habits of the participants. Sleep quality measures included time spent sleeping, insomnia, snoring, and whether the individual got up early or slept late. They also recorded whether the participants had any symptoms of daytime sleepiness, such as falling asleep or sleeping during the day.

“The healthy sleep score we created was based on the scores for these five sleep behaviors,” said Lu Qi, MD, Ph.D., corresponding author, professor of epidemiology, and director of the University’s Obesity Research Center. from Tulane in New Orleans. . “Our findings highlight the importance of improving general sleep patterns to help prevent heart failure.”

The researchers used touch screen questionnaires to collect data on sleep behaviors. They classified sleep behaviors into three different groups: short or less than 7 hours; recommended, or 7-8 hours; or prolonged, or more than 9 hours a day.

The research team then adjusted for diabetes, drug use, genetics, hypertension, and other risk factors. They found that adults with healthy sleep habits they had a 42% lower risk of developing heart failure than those with unhealthy sleep patterns.

Other interesting findings from the study included that heart disease occurred:

  • 8% lower in early risers;
  • 12% less in those who slept 7 to 8 hours a day;
  • 17% lower in those who did not have frequent insomnia; Y
  • 34% fewer in those who reported no daytime sleepiness.

Participants reported their own sleeping habits, but changes in sleep patterns during follow-up were not available. The researchers said that other unknown or unmeasured factors could have influenced the result. However, Qi noted that the study’s strengths include that it is the first study of its kind and that it has a large sample size.

Seven other ways to lower your risk of heart disease / heart failure:

According to the American Heart Association, you can reduce your risk of heart failure by making lifestyle changes. These include:

1 – Stop smoking.

Smoking damages almost every organ in the body and can damage the functioning of the heart. Smoking is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease.

2 – Eat healthy foods.

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduce risk factors for diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Today, many diseases can be reversed or at least treated with a healthy diet. Include lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy in your diet. Limit consumption of processed, sugary and high-fat foods, as well as red meat.

3 – Lower your cholesterol.

Fat lodged in your arteries can cause a heart attack or stroke. To prevent this from happening, be sure to reduce your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. You may need to take cholesterol-lowering medicine if diet and exercise alone don’t help. Healthy cholesterol levels for adults age 20 and older range from 125 mg / dL to 200 mg / dL.

4 – Daily exercise.

Even if you walk around the neighborhood for 30 minutes, something is better than nothing. However, experts say that it takes at least 150 minutes per week of intense aerobic exercise to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. This will also keep your weight in a healthy range.

5 – Maintain a healthy weight.

Unfortunately, obesity in the US is at an all-time high. This puts you at a higher risk of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and ultimately cardiovascular disease. Make sure to exercise regularly and vigorously, eat a healthy diet, and keep stress low to control your weight.

6 – Keep your stress low.

Studies have shown that high levels of cortisol from long-term stress can increase blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure. All of these are factors that can lead to heart failure. Make sure to make time in your schedule for relaxation, meditation, yoga, or anything else that relieves your stress.

7 – Limit alcohol consumption.

Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke, cancer, and other diseases. It can also cause an irregular heartbeat and contribute to the development of diabetes and obesity. If you drink, limit your intake to one drink per day.

Final thoughts on a study showing a link between good sleep habits and reduced chances of heart disease

Quality sleep in today’s world may seem hard to come by, but it can save you from heart disease. The previous study confirmed that adults with good sleep habits they have a 42% lower risk of heart failure than poor sleepers. Lack of sleep causes disturbances throughout the body and increases the production of cortisol. All of this puts a lot of extra pressure on your heart.

Make sure you have a regular sleep schedule, turn off the technology a few hours before bed, and keep your room cool at night. All of these habits will help you sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed.


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