Bad Sleep, Bad Heart: Irregular Sleep Affects Your Ticker

We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. On the surface level, not snoozing enough can make us feel groggy and cranky all day. Much deeper, your body is working to repair itself while you’re catching some much needed zzz’s.

Medical experts say sleep can help your brain, overall health and mood. Not getting enough good sleep can lead to a whole slew of issues. Most recently, a study from the Journal of the American Heart Association found that poor quality sleep can increase your risk for heart disease.


Sleep Study

The study looks at irregular sleep and the link between atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of plaque in the arteries. The AHA says atherosclerosis can lead to heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

For the study, irregular sleep refers to variations in the duration of sleep and the timing of when you fall asleep.

The study analyzed sleep patterns in more than 2,000 older adults across all races and ethnicities. Participants kept track of their sleep in a diary and wore a tracker that monitored when they were sleeping and awake. They also completed an at-home sleep study.

Researchers assessed the participants heart health. They found those whose sleep durations varied by 90 minutes to two hours within a week were more likely to have risk factors of cardiovascular disease.

“These results suggest that maintaining regular or habitual sleep durations, or sleeping close to the same total amount of time each night, may play an important role in preventing cardiovascular disease,” said lead study author Kelsie Full, an assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


Counting Sheep

The AHA recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Part of a healthy routine includes going to bed and waking up around the same times every day.

For more resources on how to unplug before bed and improve the quality of your rest, click here.


Heart Disease Screenings

Meanwhile, it’s never too early to get screened for heart disease. The AHA recommends routine screenings starting at 20.

That includes checking blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose, and discussing lifestyle factors with your doctor.

If you are at a high-risk for heart disease, additional tests can be done like an electrocardiogram (EKG) or stress test. High risk factors include a family history of cardiovascular disease, being overweight or a smoker, or having high blood pressure and cholesterol.


About Advena Living

At Advena Living, we want to help our residents live their best lives. That might mean helping them quit smoking, eating a healthy diet or getting a better night’s rest.

We specialize in assisted living, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and long-term care throughout the state. Our locations include Bonner Springs, Cherryvale, Clay Center, Clearwater, Rose Hill, Topeka, and Wichita.

Our rehab-to-home programs help individuals recover after an illness, accident or procedure and who need intensive therapies to get stronger and return to independence. Alternatively, we offer long-term care those who need assistance with routine activities on a daily basis.