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How sleep plays a role in your heart health

Heart health is more than just eating healthy and exercising regularly. In fact, sleep is a leading predictor of a healthy cardiovascular system.

Stanford Health Care notes that sleep disturbances are linked to cardiovascular disease in 13 to 42 percent of patients studied.

When a good night’s sleep is disrupted by sleep apnea or insomnia, you will have physical effects. Sleep deprivation can lead to depression, obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

Increased blood pressure, change in appetite, plaque buildup in the arteries and inflammation are all associated with a lack of sleep.

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, inflammation creates an unnecessary strain on your immune system that is constantly battling the inflammation. Therefore, you are physically unable to fight back against heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions. You are also more apt to get stressed out, while being unable to cope with the effects of stress. For someone who’s concerned about cardiovascular disease, this is a big deal.

Stress leads to hardened plague in arteries, increased cortisol in the stomach, and excess fat around your internal organs. All of these issues lead to cardiovascular disease.

As you experience all of these physical changes that can happen when you aren’t getting enough sleep, there are behavioral issues as well, as reported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Most people can tell that they are cranky and more easily stressed out when they are tired. However, when you are chronically tired, you begin to lose sight of what it feels like to be well rested. As a result, you tend to let bad moods, decreased motivation, and difficulty in thinking to become your new attitude.

National Sleep Foundation advises that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to enable their growth and development. People over 65 should also get 7 to 8 hours per night.

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Source: The Daily Chronicle

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