Lack of sleep? Cardiologist on how it can increase heart attack risk

Sleeping well is an important factor in heart health, according to the American Heart Association, which added restful sleep to its Cardiovascular Health Score which already includes diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. (Also read: Think 8 hours of sleep is the best? Think again!)



“The new measure of sleep duration reflects the latest research findings: sleep impacts overall health, and people with healthier sleep habits more effectively manage health factors such as weight, blood pressure or risk of type 2 diabetes,” said AHA President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones.

How too much or too little sleep can lead to a heart attack

Dr. Subhash Chandra, President and HOD Cardiology, BLK-Max Super Specialty Hospital says that if a person is deprived of adequate sleep for various reasons, research indicates that it directly impacts or rather increases their chances of having a heart attack. prematurely or suffer poor cardiovascular outcomes.

The cardiologist says that too much sleep is also harmful because prolonged disturbed sleep patterns can appear in case a person sleeps more than necessary, as seen in people who are obese or suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (a respiratory disease that obstructs the airways) .



How sleep deficit increases the risk of cardiovascular problems

“Humans are supposed to get 7-9 hours of undisturbed sleep. In the early hours of the morning, our bodies produce high levels of catecholamines that are normally produced during episodes of fear or anxiety.

A person who is constantly anxious or worried about life produces a large amount of catecholamines which can damage their vascular system and lipid profile. These people may also experience heart failure or suffer from heart failure-like symptoms,” says Dr. Subhash Chandra.

“People who secrete excess catecholamines early in the morning are likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack between 4 and 8 am. in the long term, this could have a significant impact on cardiovascular health,” he adds.



The ideal length of sleep

Dr. Chandra says that for adults, the optimal amount of restful sleep is 7-9 hours on a regular basis, while a child aged 5-6 may need 12-14 hours and that in adolescence and in adulthood, this sleep duration begins to decrease. According to the cardiologist, for adults between 35 and 40 years old, the optimal time is 7-9 hours.

Here are some tips to ensure you get a restful sleep:

• Stick to a strict sleep routine: The schedule should not be too flexible and a person should regularly ensure 7-8 hours of restful sleep at the same time. This process will enforce a sleep-wake cycle, which has to do with a person’s daytime alertness and overall work efficiency. If for some reason a person is unable to sleep after lying in bed for 20 minutes, the best remedy is to take a walk or start reading a book or listening to music, or to do any activity that can be done within half an hour after which one can go to sleep.



• Do not go to bed hungry or stuffed: Food should be eaten at least 1-2 hours before sleeping. In the event of consumption of nicotine, caffeine or alcohol, one can be confronted with sleep disorders.

• The sleeping environment should be restful which means it should be a cooler and quieter place. No light-emitting screens should be turned on in the room, such as televisions or computers. Ideally, the best way to sleep well is to take a bath at night and do yoga or breathing exercises before falling asleep.

• Daytime naps should be avoided. During the day, if rest is needed, take power naps (



• Finally, you have to manage your worries and not initiate excessive thoughts at night before sleeping.

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