Along with helping you feel alert and ready to face the day’s challenges, a good night’s sleep can keep your heart beating its best. Restful sleep is also great for your digestion, nervous system, circulation, and bone health. Unfortunately, one in three adults admits they don’t get the seven to eight hours of sleep recommended by the CDC.
Learn more about the connection between restful sleep and your cardiovascular health from the heart experts at Premier Cardiology Consultants in New York.
Your body doesn’t turn off once the lights dim, but it does move into a different mode. Sleep takes place in four different stages, each lasting 70-120 minutes:
Stage one is short and includes “dozing off” or transitioning from wakefulness to sleep.
Your mind and body settle into sleep during stage two. However, a loud noise, fleeting thought about tomorrow’s schedule, or an uncomfortable position can cause you to wake.
Deep sleep occurs during stage three, marked by deeply relaxed muscles, slowed breathing, lower blood pressure, and reduced heart rate.
Stage four is the dream stage of sleep and includes rapid eye movements (REM), a faster heart rate compared to early sleep states, and increased respiratory rate. A type of temporary muscle paralysis (atonia) prevents your arms and legs from moving excessively during REM sleep.
Your body uses sleep to strengthen the cardiovascular and immune systems and regulate your metabolism.
Hormones produced or regulated during sleep include melatonin, which promotes sleep. Cortisol levels, the so-called stress hormone, decline during sleep.
Growth hormone levels also increase during sleep. Your body uses these powerful substances to repair and build muscle, blood vessels, bone, and other tissues. In addition, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines while you’re sleeping. Cytokines help your body fight inflammation, infection, and trauma.
Meanwhile, your brain uses sleep to sort through the day’s experiences, create long-term memories, and manage various bodily functions as you snooze.
Notably, many of these actions occur during stage three (deep sleep) and stage four (REM sleep). Thus, restless sleep or making do with less than seven to eight hours of sleep can impact your health.
Conditions related to poor sleep that can affect your heart health include:
People with poor sleep habits are also at increased risk of depression, anxiety, daytime fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
Try adopting these habits to improve your sleep:
Schedule a visit if you regularly experience problems with insomnia, which can include difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
For more information about heart-healthy sleep or other services we offer, schedule an appointment at Premier Cardiology Consultants today.