A good night’s sleep is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. But, did you also know that sleep and heart health have a direct correlation? Recent studies in the field of sleep medicine have indicated that getting enough sleep is as important for your heart health as eating a balanced diet and exercising. In this article, we’ll look at a recent study that examined the surprising impact of sleep on heart health.

What is Sleep? 

Sleep is a biological process that is essential for restoring and repairing the body’s cells and systems. It promotes cognitive and physical wellbeing. During sleep, our body and brain are able to relax and restore, allowing us to wake refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead. There are two types of sleep: REM and non-REM. During non-REM sleep, the body and brain are in a restorative phase of recovery. During REM sleep, the brain enters into a period of active dreaming.

What is Heart Health? 

Heart health is an important factor to your overall wellbeing. Heart health is determined by your lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, as well as other factors, such as genetics and family history. Poor heart health can lead to serious medical conditions, such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

New Study Reveals Surprising Impact of Sleep on Heart Health 

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania sought to explore the impact that sleep has on heart health. The study involved data from over 350,000 participants aged 40-79.

The study focused on two different metrics:

  1. Quality and duration of sleep: The study looked at how much time participants spent in bed, as well as the quality of their sleep.

  2. Risk markers for cardiovascular diseases: The study also looked at three risk markers for cardiovascular diseases in each participant: cholesterol, high blood pressure, and blood sugar.

Study Results

The study revealed some interesting results related to sleep and heart health. Here’s what it found:

  1. Short Sleepers Had Higher Risk: The study found that people who got less than 6 hours of sleep per night had a higher risk of having high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, compared to people who got seven or eight hours of sleep per night.

  2. Poor Sleep Quality Increased Risk: The study also found that people who reported poor sleep quality were more likely to have an increased risk of heart disease than those who reported good sleep quality.

  3. Long Sleepers Had Lower Risk: Surprisingly, the study found that people who got more than nine hours of sleep per night had a lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, compared to those who got seven or eight hours of sleep per night.

Expert Opinion 

According to Jodi L. Lumpe, MD, MPH, lead author of the study and a professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Perelman, this new research “confirms that getting good quality sleep is important for cardiometabolic health, and that out-of-the-normal sleep duration can be associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

Further Research Needed 

Although this study has uncovered an interesting connection between sleep and heart health, more research is needed to explain the reasons for the relationship between the two. Further research will also help to determine what can be done to improve the quality and duration of sleep to reduce the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases.

The results of this recent sleep study suggest that getting a good night’s rest is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing, and that having poor sleep quality and short or long sleep duration can increase our risk of developing heart health problems. Further research is needed to better understand the relationship between sleep and heart health and to understand what measures can be taken to promote a better quality of sleep.