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How to Sleep Your Way to Better Heart Health

You know that if you want a healthy heart and body, you can do healthy things every day. From getting plenty of exercise to eating a well-balanced diet to staying hydrated, the actions you take affect the health of your heart. 

But did you know that getting sufficient restful sleep also plays a key role in heart health? It’s so important that a lack of good-quality sleep can have lasting negative effects on this important muscle and your overall health.

The board-certified providers at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, offer comprehensive services to help keep you and your heart in the pink of health. Keep reading as we explore the link between sleep and cardiovascular wellness and how you can sleep your way to better heart health.  

The link between sleep and heart health

Thanks to ongoing research, we now know that getting the right amount of restful sleep is important for a healthy heart. In fact, just last year, the American Heart Association added getting 7-9 hours of sleep to its healthy heart checklist.     

The link between sleep and heart health isn’t simple, since a number of lifestyle factors influence your cardiovascular and overall health, like diet, exercise, and whether you smoke. Researchers believe that taken together, these factors offer a strong prediction of heart health.

Here’s why: When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to make poor dietary decisions. Studies show poor sleep leads to increased cravings for sugar and salt, which aren’t good for your heart. And when you eat these foods, it’s more difficult to sleep well.     

The relationship works this way with exercise, too. When you’re fatigued, it’s harder to exercise regularly. And when you don’t exercise regularly, you don’t sleep as well. 

This means that people who don’t have good sleep habits have a greater chance of developing things that affect heart health, like:

These conditions, in turn, increase your risk for sleep apnea, which can lead to many health issues, including heart attack and stroke. 

Sleep your way to a healthier heart 

Fortunately, you can take steps and sleep your way to a healthier heart. Here’s a look at our favorite tips:

Be consistent in your sleep habits

Researchers are still studying the “why,” but studies show that people with the most irregular sleep habits are two times more likely to develop heart disease compared to those with consistent sleep habits.  

To boost your heart (and overall!) health, try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day — even the days you aren’t working. To do this, you have to make sleep a priority in your routine and focus on getting 7-9 hours each night at the same time.

If you struggle to fall or stay asleep, talk to your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider about personalized recommendations. 

Treat underlying sleep disorders

Sleep disorders affect your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and have good-quality sleep. This makes it nearly impossible to get the 7-9 hours of restful sleep your body needs for a healthy heart. 

There are over 100 different sleep disorders — and they all have different triggers. One of the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea, which causes you to stop breathing for short periods of time when you’re sleeping. Other sleep disorders may be neurological or chemical. 

If you’re struggling with sleep in any way, don’t wait to talk to your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider. Having the condition accurately diagnosed and treated is essential to your heart health. 

Tackle other lifestyle factors

As we explored, sleep is intricately woven into your other lifestyle factors. To help improve your sleep, take steps to tackle unhealthy habits and improve your overall health, including:

Learn more about the link between sleep and cardiovascular health and how you can sleep your way to a healthier heart by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice.

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