Is poor sleep affecting your heart health? - NL-035
There is a growing understanding that sleep problems mean bad news for heart health. Research suggests that people who do not get sufficient shuteye at night are more likely to develop heart disease. Healthy, uninterrupted sleep at night allows the body to heal and repair itself. During sleep, there is a flow of hormones that are critical for growth, healing and maintenance. But chronic sleep loss upsets this hormonal balance, interferes with the processes that repair the body and increases inflammation. This takes a toll on your heart in a number of ways.
How does sleep deprivation affect your heart health? Sleep issues are associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, asthma and weight gain. It also makes one prone to developing depression and anxiety, and both these conditions increase the risk of heart attack, heart failure or a stroke. In addition, when people are depressed, they are more likely to make lifestyle choices that are bad for heart and overall health. They may rely on too much alcohol, avoid going out and generally lead a physically inactive lifestyle. All this creates a vicious circle of poor physical health, poor sleep and poor mental health, inviting a host of other health problems, directly or indirectly affecting your heart health.
Research suggests that chronic sleep deprivation triggers inflammation that causes atherosclerosis (formation of plaque that causes thickening and hardening of the arteries). In addition, lack of sleep also increases blood pressure that further puts a burden on the arteries. Chronic lack of sleep also affects glucose metabolism and sets a stage for pre-diabetes and diabetes. Even slightly high blood sugar levels can damage both the small and large blood vessels, causing damage to organs such as heart and kidneys.
A good night sleep is critical for overall health and well-being, and particularly for your heart. Not getting enough sleep also means your body releases more cortisol, that can cause high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels, common risk factors for heart disease. If you want to do your heart a favour, it is important to get sufficient sleep at night.
Your sleep issues could be a result of a number of factors such as age, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, high stress levels, or some other chronic health problem. Deficiency of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12, could also be the reason behind your poor sleep quality. Taking magnesium supplements can help you sleep better and improve your ability to deal with stress and fight anxiety. This versatile mineral is known to calm the nervous system and is commonly used as a supplement to relieve painful muscle cramps. Interestingly, healthy levels of magnesium also reduce your risk of cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome.