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Poor Sleep Now Considered A Major Risk Factor For Heart Disease

We all know that sleep deprivation causes a myriad of health issues. Adults who sleep less than 5 hours per night are at a greater risk for developing chronic illnesses like depression, diabetes, and more. But did you know that your sleep can help predict your risk of developing heart disease?

The American Heart Association created a list of 8 things that impact your risk for cardiovascular disease. Sleep is on that list, along with diet, exercise, BMI, smoking, and more. This “Essential 8” is a points system that ranks a patient’s status in each category, and the total score can help predict the risk of developing heart disease. We talk a lot about sleep at 247 Health because it matters for everything from our skin health to digestion and heart health — it’s that important. We’ve even debunked some myths about sleep so you don’t have to wonder.

“The new metric of sleep duration reflects the latest research findings: sleep impacts overall health, and people who have healthier sleep patterns manage health factors such as weight, blood pressure or risk for Type 2 diabetes more effectively,” said American Heart Association President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA. “In addition, advances in ways to measure sleep, such as with wearable devices, now offer people the ability to reliably and routinely monitor their sleep habits at home.”

If you are one of those adults getting less than 5 or 6 hours of sleep nightly, here are some simple things you can do to improve your sleep quality and quantity.

Develop a Nighttime Routine

Our bodies thrive on structure. In order to promote a healthy circadian rhythm (or sleep and wake cycle), we need consistent sleep and wake times.

Developing a nighttime routine can help promote the parasympathetic state we want to be in to get great rest. Adding things that calm you down, like drinking some herbal tea, reading a book, or light stretching can all help with winding down for bedtime. 

Avoid Eating 2-3 Hours Before Bedtime

If your goal is to have a great night’s sleep, eating in bed, or just before bed could be the issue. Eating before bed can also contribute to insulin resistance and higher blood pressure. Our bodies need time to fully digest before getting into bed because digestion slows down as we sleep.

This might mean you would have to shift your dinner up an hour or so or avoid late-night snacking. If you absolutely can’t shift your eating window, try going for a walk after dinner to help with digestion and blood sugar regulation.

Keep Screens Out of Your Bedroom

Yup, I said it. Phones, TVs, and tablets, they’re all wrecking your sleep. It isn’t just the blue light from the screens that causes us to stay more alert. The content we’re consuming also has an impact on our sleep. If you notice you find yourself doom-scrolling on social media in bed or right before bed, now is a great time to stop. This can increase anxiety, and decrease deep sleep, making it harder to get a restful night. 

Sleep is the most underrated aspect of our health, and we actually have more control over it than we might think. Try out some of these recommendations to improve your sleep, and if needed, Magnesium Glycinate can also be supportive for restful sleep

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