Rather than a luxury, sleep should be considered a necessity. Achieving the proper amount of sleep can help your physical health, mental health, and overall wellbeing. When it comes to your physical health, a lack of sleep could cause disruptions in biological processes (such as blood pressure and inflammation) and also in underlying health conditions. Research suggests that those who don’t get enough sleep each night could be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. For more information on the connection between sleep deprivation and heart health, we’ve answered a few common questions below.
How much sleep should you aim for?
While it depends on each individual, the below is recommended for adults each night.
- Adults between 18 and 60: at least 7 hours.
- Adults between 61 and 64: 7 to 9 hours.
- Adults over 65: 7 to 8 hours.
What can you do to achieve a better and more consistent amount of sleep?
If you’re not prioritizing sleep now, make sure to do so! Try implementing a sleep schedule, as routine could be very beneficial. A healthy lifestyle change could be necessary, which could include exercising more throughout the day, avoiding food, caffeine, sugar, and using electronics right before bed. If you’re still having trouble, visit your primary doctor.
What sleep conditions should you be aware of?
Insomnia or sleep apnea could put someone at a greater risk for heart disease. For instance, one study measured men with severe sleep apnea over an eight year period, and found that they were 58 percent more likely to develop congestive heart failure compared to men without it.
What health problems could be associated with less sleep?
Common health issues include weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. It’s particularly important to control your blood pressure, as high blood pressure is one of the leading risks for heart disease.
For a number of reasons, getting a quality amount of sleep is critical for your physical and mental health, as well as your overall happiness and wellbeing. For more information, check out the CDC, National Sleep Foundation, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.