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Good quality sleep is essential for your heart health
The clocks go back one hour this weekend giving us all an extra hour in bed.
The benefits of a good night’s sleep cannot be overestimated, and good quality sleep is essential for your health. Apart from improving learning and consolidating memory, sleep has also been shown to help improve our attention span.
According to the World Health Organisation, poor sleep should be considered a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease along with smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet.
Several studies have shown a link between getting a good night’s sleep and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
For example, research carried out in 2017 revealed that insomnia was associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
“Sleeping well helps us to cope with the stresses of life and can have a positive effect on your overall health which in turn is good for your heart,"
In 2016 the American Heart Association released a scientific statement on the association between the duration and quality of sleep and cardiovascular disease.
The statement found that sleep issues, especially not sleeping enough, obstructive sleep apnoea (five or more pauses in breathing per hour of sleep) and insomnia can influence the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease and overall cardiovascular disease.
A study presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) annual congress, in Germany this year, revealed that getting six to eight hours sleep a night is good for your heart while anything less or more may be detrimental.
The research also revealed that sleeping for less or more than six to eight hours a night may increase your risk of developing or dying from heart disease or stroke.
Marese Damery, Health Check Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation agreed that sleep was important for you heart health.
“Sleeping well helps us to cope with the stresses of life and can have a positive effect on your overall health which in turn is good for your heart. Sleeping well means you will be more likely to feel happier, make healthier lifestyle choices, eat healthily and have more energy to be physically active. It is important to feel rested before bed and get into good sleep habits, switch off from work and technology and let your brain rest, avoid stimulating drinks such as caffeine, some people like to read, find a nice relaxing book,” she advised.
While prolonged sleep deprivation or excessive sleeping is best avoided, the good news is that having the odd short night or lie-in every now and then is unlikely to be detrimental to your health, so enjoy the extra hour this weekend.
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