Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Heart Health? How Much Sleep Is Best For My Heart? Update 10/2022

The importance of a healthy heart cannot be overstated. The heart fuels the circulatory system, which ensures that all of the body’s organs and tissues receive the oxygen they require.

In the United States, heart disease is a primary cause of hospitalization and decease. In addition to the well-known hazards of poor food, lack of exercise, and smoking, sleep deprivation is also becoming more widely recognized as a risk factor for heart disease.

Sleep allows the body to recuperate and replenish, which has a significant impact on practically every area of physical health. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and stroke if the cardiovascular system is not properly rested.

Because of this, a heart-healthy lifestyle may include getting enough sleep to keep the heart healthy and prevent damage to it.

Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Heart Health?

Sleeping disorders, such as sleep deprivation and fragmented sleep, have been shown to have a harmful impact on heart health.

The body needs time to rest and recuperate during sleep. The heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration all calm down and become more stable during the periods of sleep known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM). Changes in sleep patterns help the heart recuperate from the load it experiences when awake.

To reap the health benefits of deep NREM sleep, a person must have a good night’s sleep each night. People who frequently have their sleep disrupted face the same issue.

It has been related to a wide range of heart disorders, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as an increased risk of heart attack and obesity.

Sleep and Blood Pressure

An average of 10% to 20% of blood pressure declines during a good night’s sleep. Known as nocturnal dipping, it has been linked to cardiovascular health by researchers.

A person’s blood pressure doesn’t drop at night when they aren’t getting enough sleep or their sleep is disrupted. Increased blood pressure at night has been linked to overall high blood pressure, according to research (high blood pressure).

When it comes to predicting heart disease, nocturnal blood pressure is more accurate than daytime readings. Non-dipping has been linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke in some studies. Additionally, it’s been related to kidney issues and a decrease in cerebral blood flow.

Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in daytime blood pressure in numerous studies, but it doesn’t effect everyone the same. Middle-aged adults have the biggest risk of developing high blood pressure due to a lack of sleep. Blood pressure is more likely to rise as a result of chronically inadequate sleep for those who work long hours in stressful occupations or who have other risk factors for hypertension.

Sleep and Coronary Heart Disease

The main cause of death in the United States is coronary heart disease. Atherosclerosis, or hardening and constriction of the arteries, is the cause of coronary artery disease, which is also known as coronary artery disease. This lowers the heart’s ability to obtain adequate blood and oxygen supply.

Atherosclerosis is thought to be exacerbated by sleep deprivation, according to recent studies. Plaque develops as a result of the immune system’s white blood cells accumulating in the arteries as a result of inflammation. Plaque and hardening of the arteries can be caused by persistent inflammation caused by insufficient sleep.

The effects of sleep deprivation on blood pressure are also thought to have an impact on coronary heart disease. Having high blood pressure puts a strain on the arteries, making it more difficult for blood to reach the heart, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease.

Sleep and Heart Failure

In order for the body to operate effectively, the heart must pump enough blood to supply it with the amount of blood and oxygen that it needs. Over 400,000 participants were studied in an observational research that indicated a clear link between sleep disorders and heart failure.

People who slept less than seven hours a night were shown to have an increased chance of developing heart failure in that study. Other markers of poor sleep, like daytime tiredness, snoring, and being an evening person, were all associated with an increased risk of heart failure. Cardiovascular disease is more likely to strike when a person exhibits multiple symptoms of poor sleep.

Sleep and Heart Attacks

A heart attack, medically referred to as a myocardial infarction, occurs when the blood supply to the heart is cut off. Because of the damage to the heart that occurs when it does not receive enough oxygen, heart attacks can be fatal.

Heart attacks are more likely to occur when people are sleep deprived. A heart attack was shown to be 20% more likely among persons who slept less than six hours per night in one study. REM sleep, on the other hand, is characterized by a high level of stress and activity. Deficiency in sleep can disrupt these stages and increase the risk of a heart attack.

Heart attacks have been connected to sleep disturbances as well. Frequent sleep interruptions can create cardiac stress and may lead to a heart attack because of the sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure upon waking.

Sleep and Stroke

One of the most common causes of stroke is a shortage of blood flow to the central nervous system (CNS). The most common cause of an ischemic stroke is an artery being blocked by an artery-blocking clot or plaque. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), often known as a mini-stroke, is characterized by a temporary interruption of the blood supply to the brain.

A lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of stroke in research studies. Stroke risk is increased by sleep loss, and high blood pressure is considered the primary risk factor for strokes. In addition, sleep deprivation may contribute to the formation of plaque in the arteries, making it easier for blockages to form and resulting in strokes.

Sleep and Obesity

Hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and stroke are all linked to obesity, as are many other cardiovascular and metabolic issues.

Existing study established a link between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Obesity is more common in people with a BMI above 30 who sleep less than seven hours per night. A lack of sleep or sleep disturbances can lead to overeating and an increased craving for high-calorie foods, which can be caused by a lack of sleep or sleep disturbances.

Sleep and Type 2 Diabetes

The body’s inability to effectively metabolize sugar causes the blood sugar level to rise in people with type 2 diabetes, a long-term illness. Cardiovascular health is significantly impacted when blood sugar levels are too high. Diabetics have a two-fold greater risk of dying from heart disease or stroke than those who do not have diabetes.

A lack of sleep has been shown to have a negative impact on blood sugar metabolism. Prediabetes, a type of glucose intolerance that does not satisfy the criteria for diabetes, is linked to poor sleep. A lack of quality sleep may make it more difficult for people with diabetes to keep a handle on their blood sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes who are sleep deprived are more likely to develop hardened arteries.

Sleep and Heart Rate

During the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stages of sleep, the heart rate dips and then rises as you get ready to wake up.

Poor sleep, such as sudden awakenings, may lead to an increase in heart rate. People who have trouble sleeping are also more likely to report having an irregular heartbeat, according to a study. Heart palpitations may result from a lack of sleep because of these causes.

In addition, a study of older persons found that those who reported having an irregular pulse were more likely to have had frequent nightmares. People who have nightmares may wake up feeling like their heart is pounding when their sleep is disrupted.

Sleep and Chest Pain

Chest pain can be caused by a variety of things. Angina is a type of heart pain caused by a clog in the blood vessels. There is no connection between non-cardiac chest pain, such as heartburn or a muscle strain, and a heart issue.

If you don’t get enough sleep, you may experience angina, a sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure that can lead to pain in the chest.

It’s possible that non-cardiac chest pain can be linked to sleep. People who have heartburn or acid reflux are more likely to have sleep disturbances, which can lead to a worsening of their heartburn symptoms.

There is also a correlation between unexplained chest pain and poor sleep, according to numerous research. A substantial percentage of people with insomnia-like symptoms experience persistent, unexplained chest pain. Sleep deprivation may have a direct correlation with stress and worry, as well as panic attacks, which may be more likely in those with poor sleep.

The role of mental health

People with mental diseases are more likely than the general population to experience sleep issues, and vice versa is true.

This may have an impact on heart health. Chronic stresses and trauma have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in numerous studies. There is an increased risk of heart disease in people who are lonely, stressed out at work, prone to rage and aggression, or who are depressed or pessimistic.

However, optimism is linked to a healthier lifestyle that includes improved sleep and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease as well as all-cause mortality.

There is growing evidence that mental health and physical health are closely linked, and the American Heart Association has recognised this in a recent scientific statement. Data show that treating mental health can enhance heart health.

What’s the takeaway?

In terms of cardiovascular health, there’s a strong link between mental and physical wellness.

Diet and exercise can lower heart disease risk both directly and indirectly through improved sleep. In turn, this could contribute to a more positive attitude, as well as greater energy.

Sleep Disorders and Heart Health

Several sleep disturbances can have a negative impact on cardiovascular health. Having insomnia, which is one of the most frequent sleep problems, can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

People who suffer from OSA, a respiratory issue that is connected to heart disease and other health problems, are more likely to be overweight or obese. The airways of people with OSA get constricted while they are asleep, causing them to stop breathing for periods of time.

OSA disrupts breathing, resulting in fragmented sleep, which is linked to a number of cardiovascular issues. In addition, a lack of oxygen in the blood can exacerbate the negative effects of OSA on the heart.

In addition to restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder, heart disease has been connected to sleep disorders that cause abnormal movement in the legs. An high and fluctuating heart rate and blood pressure may be caused by aberrant activation of the cardiovascular system in these settings, albeit the exact cause is unknown.

Circadian rhythm sleep disturbances have been linked to cardiovascular diseases. The risk of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cardiac events such as a stroke or heart attack is increased in persons who work night shifts and must sleep during the day.

Sleep and Heart Health During Pregnancy

Because of the added stress on the heart, some pregnant women experience cardiovascular issues. It is possible for pregnant women to have high blood pressure, which can be dangerous for both the mother and her unborn child.

Many pregnant women suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome, all of which have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease during and after pregnancy. Ongoing studies are looking for techniques to promote sleep during pregnancy in order to reduce high blood pressure and other cardiovascular concerns as a result of this improved sleep.

Sleeping Too Much and Heart Health

Numerous studies have revealed a link between excessive sleepiness, defined as sleeping more than nine hours per night, and cardiovascular issues.

A number of specialists believe that underlying health disorders that produce excessive sleep may also be to blame for this increased risk of heart disease. Regardless, these findings serve as a timely reminder that the conventional wisdom that more sleep is always preferable is just not true.

Sleep for People With Heart Disease

People with cardiovascular issues should prioritize getting enough sleep because sleep deprivation can hurt their hearts. Even adults who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease may benefit from better sleep, according to several studies.

Sadly, some cardiac conditions can disrupt sleep. Other medical conditions, such as diabetes, might induce midnight urination and chest discomfort when attempting to sleep. It can be difficult to get to sleep at night if you’re worried about your heart health.

Talk to your doctor about heart-healthy sleep because so many factors influence both sleep and cardiovascular health. You can work with your doctor to build a personalized sleep improvement strategy that takes into consideration the many other aspects of your health, such as nutrition and exercise, that also play a role in your ability to sleep well.

Sleep Tips for People With Heart Problems

Many people with heart problems can benefit from following a few simple guidelines to improve their quality of sleep.

  • Develop strategies for relaxation: When you’re trying to wind down for the night, worrying about your heart can keep you awake. People with pericarditis (inflammation around the heart), heart disease, or other heart disorders that cause chest pain can benefit from techniques like deep breathing, yoga, gentle stretching, and mindfulness meditation.
  • Plan a consistent sleep schedule: One of the best methods to ensure a good night’s sleep starts tonight is to stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule every day.
  • Design an accommodating bedroom: Make sure you have everything you need for a good night’s sleep, including a comfy bed and pillow, a comfortable temperature, and as much silence and darkness as possible, in your bedroom.
  • Avoid negative influences on sleep: Alcohol and caffeine, both of which can disrupt sleep, should be avoided before bedtime. Your cell phone and other electronic devices should be put away at least an hour before going to bed to avoid disrupting the body’s natural sleep cycle.

By incorporating these and other aspects of good sleep hygiene into your daily routine, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in achieving the right balance between amount and quality of shut-eye.

Why does bad sleep increase heart disease risk?

It’s not clear exactly why sleep deprivation is detrimental for your heart health, but researchers offer a few possibilities.

There is a link between long-term sleep deprivation and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension (a known risk factor), as well as increased levels of chemicals linked to inflammation. Inflammation has not been established to be a cause of heart disease, but it is common in persons with the illness.

How do sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnoea affect my heart?

The prevalence of heart disease in persons who have sleep apnoea is one of the ways that clinicians know that sleep and heart diseases are linked.

During sleep, people with sleep apnoea experience pauses in breathing for short durations of time. Pauses that occur 30 times an hour or more can cause a person to gasp for air, waking them up. Consequently, a good night’s sleep is disrupted by this.

High blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, coronary artery disease, and heart failure are all linked to sleep apnoea.

Approximately 38,000 people in the United States die each year from cardiovascular disease because of sleep apnoea, according to the American National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research (ANSDR).

Insomnia and an increased risk of heart disease are also being linked in an increasing number of research.

Talk to your doctor if you’re having trouble getting to sleep, as there are treatments for sleep disorders.

How much sleep is best for my heart?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of disagreement among specialists on the appropriate amount of sleep.

It is recommended that individuals get seven hours or more of sleep per night by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for “optimal health.” The American Heart Association, on the other hand, recommends no more than seven or eight. The best amount of sleep for heart health is between six and eight hours per night, according to a study presented at the 2018 European Society of Cardiology meeting.

The ideal amount of sleep is between seven and eight hours.

How do heart conditions affect my sleep?

Everyone who has ever struggled with sleep deprivation understands how difficult it can be to achieve the proper quantity of shut-eye. Your sleep may be negatively affected by a cardiac issue, too.

In spite of your cardiac disease, there are things you may do to improve the quality of your sleep.

Marie Young, a psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders, discusses the effects of a heart attack on sleep and offers advice on how to improve your quality of sleep.

Will sleeping tablets affect my heart condition or my heart pills?

As a last resort, pharmaceutical or complementary treatments may be able to aid those who are still unable to sleep.

It’s crucial to disclose your heart condition and treatment to your doctor when you’re discussing sleeping tablets because some insomnia medications are not safe for persons with specific heart diseases.

In some cases, prescription or over-the-counter sleeping drugs may interact with your cardiac medication. Before using any drug to help you sleep, consult with your doctor or pharmacist.

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