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When it comes to your heart, sleeping seven hours a night is non-negotiable!

by , 21 October 2014

If you pride yourself on being able to function every day on only six hours of sleep, you might want to rethink your health.

Sleeping is not only about your brain function and your ability to concentrate. It has a huge effect on another important part of your health: Your heart.

Experts say, sleeping six hours or less a night is so detrimental to your heart health it'll leave you with disease, or it could significantly impact current illnesses you suffer from.

Read on to find out what's going on inside your body when you don't sleep enough and why it's leading you down a path to heart disease…

Sleep issues cause illness, but it can also be the result!

Not only is your risk of getting ill higher when your don’t sleep enough, trouble sleeping could be the result of illness too.
It’s a vicious cycle that causes your illness to progress and get worse, says an article posted by ScienceDaily.com.
Depression, sleep apnoea and insomnia can all cause you to sleep too little. This then increases your risk of other illnesses like heart disease, which can further negatively impact your mental health, sleep apnoea and insomnia!
And while the connection between lack of sleep and poor heart health needs more research, experts have some ideas about what it does…
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Skip a couple hours of sleep and you feel tired and irritable – skip a couple of days and your health’s in serious trouble

Experts say missing out on sleep just a couple hours a week isn’t as harmful for your health as consistent lack of sleep.
And it’s because of what happens when you sleep that too little, the processes don’t take place as they should and your body goes into a state of disease. For example:
1.    Your immune system suffers: When you sleep, your immune system repairs itself. If it doesn’t have enough time to do this, not only are you unable to fight off bugs efficiently, your body may enter a state of chronic inflammation, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
2.    Sleeping too little means you’ll battle to lose weight: People who sleep less than seven hours a night are 30% more likely to be obese. And as you know, your weight has a significant impact on your heart health!
3.    Your mental health is at risk if you don’t sleep enough: A study showed that many people with mental health problems like depression sleep less than six hours a night. This increases their symptoms, leaving them anxious, irritable and more depressed.
And depression shares a strong connection with heart disease!
4.    You might end up with diabetes! Sleeping less than five hours a night sends your diabetes risk soaring. Your body keeps processing sugar because you’re awake, instead of storing it.
This constant influx of sugar on your system increases your state of inflammation and leaves you with poor heart health.
5.    Protect your heart with sleep: Besides all the illnesses mentioned above and them leaving you with an increased heart disease risk, lack of sleep on its own harms your heart health.
When you sleep, your blood pressure and heart rate drop and this decreases the pressure on your heart to pump blood around your body. Even just lying down eases the pressure on your heart because it doesn’t have to pump against gravity.
But when you don’t sleep, your heart is under pressure for more hours of the day than it should be. This can lead to the disease process speeding up.
Your heart muscle becomes weaker more quickly and your heart health increases beyond your actual age.
That’s why, no matter what, you need to get at least seven to nine hours of good quality sleep every night!
If you’re currently not able to sleep, use these three tips to change your routine.
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Start sleeping seven to nine hours a night to preserve your heart health

Tip #1: Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day
Go to sleep at the same time and wake up seven to nine hours later every day of the week.
Even if you lie in bed for the first couple of days, struggling to go to sleep, stay in bed. Your body will get used to the sensation and sleep will come easily in no time.
Tip #2: Keep distractions out of your room
Remove all electronics from your room as they could distract you from sleeping.
Watch TV in another room and use your bedroom only for sleeping.
If you stay awake to watch TV in your bedroom, you’re confusing your body and sending messages that your bed is a place to stay awake.
Tip #3: Keep your room dark
Your sleep/awake cycle depends on light. Help your body get used to sleeping when it’s dark by making your room very dark.
It’s an essential part of your health to sleep properly! Use these tips to get back into a regular sleeping routine so your body can rest and repair itself to maintain good heart health. 

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