If you have not been paying attention to your heart, then this World Heart Day make a promise to yourself to look after and love that which will love you in return, your precious little heart.
While people are taking a lot of steps to avoid heart problems such as eating healthy, developing an exercise routine, meditating to reduce stress levels, etc, they are not paying attention to sleep. Sleep and heart have a connection that is being neglected.
Though there are a number of ways to protect the heart and ensure it beats healthy, one of the most important ways is to get the right amount of sleep.
Do your heart a favor and give it the sleep it needs. But do keep in mind that both too little and too much sleep can affect your heart health negatively.
What amount is the right amount? We will discuss that today!
According to a paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people who sleep less than six hours a night, run a 20 percent higher risk of a first heart attack compared to people who get their six to nine hours of quality sleep. The people who sleep more than nine hours, however, run a 34 percent higher risk of a first heart attack.
When you don’t get seven to eight hours of sleep, the study shows that it raises the fatty plaque in the arteries. This is known as atherosclerosis. This condition raises the causes of cardiac arrest.
Bad heart health is not something only older people should worry about. New research has shown that not getting proper sleep during our younger years can have detrimental effects too. Even adolescents who lack sleep at night run a risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Not just that, the chances of abnormal cholesterol levels, higher Body Mass Index (BMI), hypertension, etc. is also greater among these children.
The good news is, by becoming cautious during our teen years itself, we can prevent a lot of issues and diseases from developing in old age.
How to sleep well for a better heart
This World Heart Day, try these sleep tips to take care of your heart.
- Make the clock your friend
Experts suggest that one should wake up and go to bed at the same time every day if they want to improve their sleep quality and patterns.
By making this a habit, you will be setting your body’s internal clock, which in turn, enhances sleep.
You don’t have to go to bed really early or anything. Choose a time that suits you, a time when you naturally feel sleepy, and then wake up naturally. It is best to not set an alarm when you are trying to set your internal clock.
Here’s the tricky part: Try to not break this sleep cycle even on weekends. If this sounds tough, then try and get afternoon naps on weekends to complete your sleep hours.
- Play hide-n-seek with light
Early morning, expose yourself to bright sun rays. You could do so in simple ways – go for a walk, drink morning tea in the verandah or the patio (wherever the sun can reach you), go cycling with a friend, etc.
Sleep experts suggest that one should spend as much time outdoors as they can during daylight. For example, have your lunch in a park under a tree. Allow natural light to enter your home and your workspace. You can move your workstation near a window if that is possible.
At night, however, avoid light as much as you can a couple of hours before you sleep. Try and stay away from gadgets like your phone, IPad, computer, kindle, TV, etc. The blue light from these devices can hamper natural circadian rhythms, thus affecting sleep.
The light from these devices suppresses the release of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. The blue light tricks our brains into believing that it is still daylight, and so we are compelled to stay awake and alert, something that is really undesirable when you are trying to sleep.
These simple tips can help your heart not skip its beats and wakefit every morning!
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