March 19, 2024

Good night, sleep tight for your heart

Leading a busy life? Don’t forget to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep to protect your heart.

One-third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, which can impact their heart health.

Work, school, child care, commitments to friends and family — so many of us have so much to do and so little time. But if you’re thinking of cutting out sleep to fit everything into your busy schedule, think again. Kendra Becker, MD, an internal medicine physician at the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center Sleep Center, says consistently going without sleep can cause great harm to your health.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for your body to get enough sleep. It’s an essential part of achieving a good quality of life and preventing major health issues,” said Dr. Becker. “If you’ve been sleep-deprived for a long time, it’s time to prioritize your sleep.”

Sleep is vital for a healthy heart

According to Dr. Becker, research shows that poor sleep can have a negative effect on your health in many ways, including:

  • Influencing your diet, stress levels, and other lifestyle factors that increase your chances of developing risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, that can lead to cardiovascular disease
  • Causing increased inflammation in your body, which can elevate your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Causing depression and other mental health conditions that can impact your heart health

Dr. Becker recommends getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night to help your body restore and recharge.

Can’t sleep? You’re not alone.

Unfortunately, for many people, that’s easier said than done. According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep regularly, and between 50 million and 70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders.

“If you have an undiagnosed sleep disorder, you should not hesitate to talk to your doctor about a plan to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Becker said. “If you suspect you have a sleep disorder but haven’t been diagnosed with one, you should consult with your doctor to explore a possible diagnosis.”

Kaiser Permanente offers information and resources to help you get better sleep.