8 hours sleep is essential for heart health

| November 18, 2015

In 2013, the American Heart Association (AHA) set out to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 2020. To meet this goal the AHA laid down 7 key health factors and behaviours — called “Life’s Simple 7” — that it believes defines “perfect cardiovascular health”.

These 7 key factors are: blood pressure, physical activity, cholesterol, healthy diet, healthy weight, smoking status and blood glucose (blood sugar).

Recently, researchers compared groups of people who slept for different average lengths of time, looking at how well each group met the seven criteria laid out by the AHA.

The researchers found that people who slept 8 or more hours a night were 2.7 times more likely to meet six or seven of the ideal heart-health criteria, compared with people who got less than 6 hours of sleep a night.

Numerous previous studies have looked at the negative health impact of poor quality sleep, like an increased risk of heart disease. However, this latest study, recently presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, is one of a few that investigated the impact of sleep duration on heart health.

In the study, the researchers looked at data on 9,700 people. The participants filled out questionnaires that included questions about their lifestyle habits such as their diet, smoking, physical activity levels, and sleep quality and duration. People in the study were divided into three groups based on how long they slept: less than 6 hours a night, 6 to 7.9 hours a night and 8 or more hours a night.

The researchers then looked at how many “ideal” targets of heart health each participant met. The targets included having blood pressure under 120/80 mm Hg, a body mass index under 25, a blood glucose level under 140 mg/dL, a total cholesterol level under 200 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) (not surprisingly very low), getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, earning a score of 8 out of 10 on the AHA’s scoring of an ideal diet and not smoking (a breath test was used to identify smokers).

According to their results, people who slept 8 hours were 1.6 times more likely to eat an ideal diet, 1.7 times more likely to have an ideal BMI, 1.3 times more likely to have ideal blood pressure and 2.4 times more likely to get enough physical activity, compared with those who slept less than 6 hours.

It’s important to note that these results do not prove cause and effect — getting less sleep does not necessarily cause someone to meet fewer of the heart health goals.
However, numerous previous studies have linked a lack of sleep to an increased risk of weight gain and obesity, insulin resistance (a precursor for diabetes) and raised inflammation markers (the root cause of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease).

The researchers of this latest study, concluded that getting more sleep is associated with ideal heart health and that the “findings underscore the importance of promoting sleep health in a working population.”

Here's to keeping your heart strong and healthy

Francois Lubbe
Editor
for The Cholesterol Truth



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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


Sources:

8-Hour Sleepers More Likely to Be Heart Healthy, published online 12.11.15, livescience.com

Sleep Loss and Inflammation, Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Oct; 24(5): 775–784. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2010.08.014

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Category: Cardiovascular Risks

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