Good Sleep and Coronary heart Well being Are Linked—This is How

IIt’s pretty hard to overestimate the importance of regular, quality sleep to good health – or rather, to think of a body function that isn’t supported by constant zzz, from your immune system (sleep mediates inflammation) to your neurology (REM sleep cycles, moderate mood). But if you add up all of the effects sleep has on the body, there is one organ that is particularly stimulated in good cases and negatively affected in bad times – and that is your heart.

In fact, sleep is so important to the normal functioning of your heart that according to a study published last March analyzing various metrics that affect cardiovascular health, researchers recommend adding good sleep to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Simple 7 – the organisation’s heart list of everyday health-promoting habits. Based on an AHA statement released last week on the link between obstructive sleep apnea and worsening heart health, it is now even more evident the importance of getting 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. And that’s especially noteworthy given the surge in “corona somnie” (also known as pandemic insomnia) over the past year, as well as the fact that more than 50 million Americans are struggling to sleep evenly.

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While there are a myriad of factors that can play a role in insomnia (and, in turn, heart problems that can result from it), the most recent AHA statement specifically mentions obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) for a reason: it becomes widespread Underestimated and undiagnosed, says Yerem Yeghiazarians, MD, an interventional cardiologist at the University of California’s San Francisco Medical Center and chair of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Writing Group. About 34 percent of middle-aged men and 17 percent of middle-aged women meet the criteria for sleep apnea – which manifests itself in the form of snoring, paused breathing, fragmented sleep, and daytime sleepiness – but actually far fewer are diagnosed and treated.

“It is important to emphasize that patients can now be screened for sleep apnea with a home sleep study kit, and alternative therapies are available if they cannot tolerate a CPAP machine.” —Yerem Yeghiazarians, MD

“Patients often think they have to spend the night in a sleep center to diagnose sleep apnea,” says Dr. Yeghiazarians, “so they might not discuss it with their doctor.” Another common misconception is that the only way to get treatment is to wear a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) mask every night. “It is important to highlight that patients can now be screened for sleep apnea with a home sleep study kit, and if they cannot tolerate a CPAP machine, there are alternative therapies such as oral appliances, positional therapy and lifestyle interventions. ”

And why does the AHA primarily suggest more regular screening for sleep apnea? They found it is present in 30 to 50 percent of people with high blood pressure and up to 80 percent of people with resistant or difficult-to-treat high blood pressure. Not to mention that sleep apnea has been linked to arrhythmias, a higher risk of heart attack, and worsening heart failure, according to the AHA statement.

These negative effects of sleep apnea on heart health also support the broader association between poor sleep and heart disease. While not all of the underlying mechanisms that link the two are known, there is evidence to suggest a few major causes.

Here are 4 ways poor sleep can negatively affect your heart health

1. It interrupts your body’s natural recovery and recovery

This is the most important point to keep in mind: when you sleep, especially in the deep non-rapid eye movement (NREM) phases, your heart and breathing rates slow and your blood pressure drops – but always when you do waking up all night, each of these metrics increases rapidly, adding an extra burden to the heart.

Dr. Yeghiazarians argues that evidence of increased sympathetic nervous system activity (as opposed to the restful parasympathetic nervous system activity typical of good sleep) is considered a likely reason that disturbed sleep can trigger heart problems. And there is research to show that those frequent increases in blood pressure during a restless night can also lead to higher blood pressure during the day, which is a common symptom of several types of heart disease.

2. It can lead to changes in your blood vessels

Dr. Yeghiazarians also cite endothelial dysfunction – when the lining of your heart’s blood vessels don’t do their job and they narrow instead of staying wide open – as a potential link between inadequate sleep and heart disease. And that’s backed up by research too: A 2014 study that measured the vascular function of people who had partially restricted their sleep compared to those who hadn’t found that those who had less Had closed eyes, had poor blood circulation.

3. It can slow down your metabolism

If you’re wondering what metabolism has to do with your heart health, remember this: we know that a bad night’s sleep can trigger elevated blood sugar levels and disrupt the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin, which can mess up your metabolism and run you during the day possibly eat more than you normally would. This type of metabolic dysregulation is another of the negative health effects that Dr. Citing Yeghiazarians as a possible link between poor sleep and heart disease – and probably why interrupted sleep, especially sleep apnea, increases your risk of diabetes, and obesity, too.

4. It can put a strain on your immune system

Ahh yeah, back to sleep and immunity – an issue we’ve been following all too closely over the past few months as there is evidence of the positive effect of getting enough sleep on the body’s immune response to a vaccine. While sleep and immunity are linked in several ways, the most important one for heart health is how the immune system keeps inflammation in check while you doze off. So if you don’t get enough sleep, the inflammation can build up afterward, which is why a lack of sleep can likely lead to chronic, systemic inflammation associated with atherosclerosis (a heart disease caused by plaque build-up in blood vessels that restricts blood flow).

By prioritizing a good night’s sleep (and checking with your doctor if you have trouble sleeping) you can get all of the heart health benefits of sleep – and many other benefits, of course. Regular, adequate sleep will put you in a better mood, less tired and more productive during the day, says Dr. Yeghiazarians.

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