The human heart is amazing. Our hearts fill with love in those magic moments of life. Our hearts break in those moments of tragedy. Through it all, without having to think about it, our hearts beat an average of 100,000 times a day. At about the size of a fist, our hearts pump 2,000 gallons of blood a day. That’s enough to fill 200 train tank cars in an average lifetime.
Yet, with the vital job our hearts perform, are we treating them right?
According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 4 deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease, making it the leading cause of death for men and women, but the good news is that they say, “Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions.”
With February being National Heart Month, you may hear a lot of good advice on eating nutritious foods, exercising, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol, etc. Even if you do all of this, there’s one more pillar of health that you should not ignore…sleep.
THE SLEEP – HEART CONNECTION
Research published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology shares that getting a good night’s sleep can make your other healthy behaviors even more effective.
More than 14,000 men and women participated in a 12-year study. They found that those who had proper diet, exercise, moderate alcohol consumption and no cigarettes were 57% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 67% less likely to die from heart problems, compared with those who did not.
When the researchers looked at those in the study who adopted these healthy lifestyle choices and slept 7 or more hours per night, they found that 65% were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 83% were less likely to die from heart problems.
The scientists conducting the study suggest that shorter sleep duration is linked to higher blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and higher rates of obesity. Studies like these show that healthy sleep enhances the other healthy lifestyle choices.
In addition to the quantity of sleep, you need to be sure you are having quality sleep. Often, undiagnosed sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, can negatively impact our quality and quantity of sleep. Click here to see how treating sleep apnea improves your heartbeat.
Have you ever struggled with a good night’s sleep? Your owe it to your heart – and your loved ones’ hearts – to see if there may be an undiagnosed sleep disorder causing it. You can reach out to the FusionHealth Participant Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-615-7257.
1. American Heart Association
2. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology
3. Avraham, Regina. 2000. The Circulatory System. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers.
4. Daniels, Patricia, et. al. 2007. Body: The Complete Human. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society.
5. Parramon’s Editorial Team. 2005. Essential Atlas of Physiology. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.