How Your Sleep Patterns may be Affecting Heart Health
- Posted on: Dec 15 2017
We all know that the lack of good sleep can make us feel foggy and cranky. As research continues on the topic of sleep patterns and long-term health and wellness, we are gaining insight into the immense value of several hours of deep, restful sleep. Recently, researchers have discovered a correlation between poor sleep patterns and diminished heart function. This is an area of interest to us and should be to you, as well.
Pinpointing Cause and Effect
Research into the relationship between sleep patterns and heart health is nothing new. However successful we have been at identifying a link between the two, there has been little progress in understanding the how and why between this cause and effect; cause being poor sleep and effect being impaired cardiac fitness.
The recent study, published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, looked more closely at this causal link to better understand its process. One week was all it took to begin to unlock important information. During this time frame, researchers placed 26 healthy, young adults into groups of various sleep patterns. Every participant was limited to five hours of sleep each day of the week-long study. However, some participants slept during daytime hours for four days of that week. Throughout the study, vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate, and norepinephrine (the body’s stress hormone) were closely observed.
Researchers found that the daytime heart rate of every single participant increased due to lack of sleep. The level of stress hormone norepinephrine also increased across the board. This is relevant to heart health because increased norepinephrine means higher blood pressure due to constriction in blood vessels. An interesting finding in this particular study was the severity of heart function change in participants who slept during daytime hours: more pronounced than those who slept at night. This led researchers to conclude that poor-quality daytime sleep could present an increased risk for cardiovascular conditions over time.
Heart health is something that requires consistency regarding lifestyle habits. The authors of this study highlighted the value of 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night for optimal wellness. They also suggested that shift workers who had less control over their sleep patterns implement other lifestyle habits to support cardiovascular health, including exercise and dietary choices.
Posted in: Heart Health