How Too Much & Too Little Sleep Can Affect Your Heart Health

By Wild Ginger

How Too Much & Too Little Sleep Can Affect Your Heart Health

September 26th, 2021 at 12:13 pm

As you may know, healthy and balanced lifestyle practices can be the key to maintaining a healthy heart. We have learnt that a heart-healthy diet consists of foods low in saturated fats, low in salt, and high in Mother Nature’s gifts: fruits and vegetables. Besides factors such as sustaining a balanced diet, and being cautious of our alcohol consumption, sleep plays an important role in our heart health too. 


How Sleep Affects Your Heart Health 

How sleep affects our heart health isn’t only about getting enough sleep every night, but the right amount of sleep as well as the quality of our sleep. Studies show how a decrease in the amount of sleep a person has, can be linked to an increase in risk of getting a heart disease. So, try and make sure you get a good amount of sleep every night, however, while being cautious not to oversleep. Sleep deprivation can be harmful to the heart, but did you also know that getting too much sleep can be too? 


Experts believe that oversleeping and getting too much sleep can also be linked to an increase in risk of heart problems – “The more sleep, the better” is in fact a myth. This can all be quite stressful to control but don’t panic, remember, just try to maintain a balance: the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults to get an average of seven to nine hours of sleep everyday. With all this being said, don’t worry, research emphasises on the fact that the lack of sleep and oversleeping do not undoubtedly cause heart disease, but just increases the risk factors of getting one.


As for the quality of sleep, crummy nights of rest can be harmful to your heart health. It can increase stress levels and lessen motivation of practicing healthy lifestyle habits: being physically active and maintaining a balanced diet. Therefore, a poor diet and lack of physical activity can also affect our heart health. Try to set a relaxing bedtime routine in order to have a restful night of good quality sleep. Quality means actual rest for our minds and bodies. Our heart rate and heart pressure will be able to relax, which in turn, allows for our hearts to rest. 


What You Can Do To Get Better Sleep
Turn off all unnecessary distractions.

Double checking your schedule or scrolling on social media can be tempting, but blue light from electronic devices can suppress the release of melatonin – the hormone that makes us sleepy. Try to turn off your notifications or put away these devices at least two hours before bedtime to prevent this from affecting the quality of your sleep. 


Exercise earlier on in the day/evening.

This will allow you to feel energetic earlier on, and tired enough to rest fully when bedtime reaches. 


Try not to eat too late/too close to bedtime.

Eating right before bed means your body will be awake, busy digesting what you had just eaten. Try eating three hours before sleeping to allow your body to focus on nourishing your body with rest instead. 


Use aromatherapy to help you unwind.

Whether it be lavender, patchouli, or jasmine, studies have shown that smell can affect a person’s sleep. Try incorporating essential oils, or other kinds of fragrances, to your night routine by lighting scented candles, using a pillow mist, or even applying oils on to your pulse points. 


Find what works for you. 

Try out different practices to see what helps you sleep better. It could be investing in a better quality mattress or pillows, organising your thoughts by journaling, or even sleeping nude.

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