How can sleeping late at night be harmful to your heart? Doctors answer

Updated on Oct 06, 2022 12:30 PM IST

Sleeping is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Doctors reveal how sleeping late at night can be harmful to your heart

How can sleeping late at night be harmful to your heart? Doctors answer(Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash)
How can sleeping late at night be harmful to your heart? Doctors answer(Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

The CDC, Atlanta claims that a normal adult requires at least seven hours of sleep a day but unfortunately, more than one third of adults between 18 and 65 years of age do not get the required sleep. Those individuals who sleep less than six hours a day, there is 20% increase in chance of heart problems and there is 82% increase in the risk of stroke associated with poor quality of sleep.

The European Heart Association says the optimal time of sleeping is between 10 to 11:00 pm. Now, we all know that night is made for sleeping and day is made for working since our circadian rhythm has been set by nature in such a way that the hormones so released and the radicular activating system is best active in the early part of the day.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Ruchit Shah, Interventional Cardiologist at Masina Hospital in Mumbai, explained, “Sleeping late at night or having insomnia can be associated with multiple diseases that this may be associated with High blood pressure and high blood pressure is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. This can also lead to inflammation of the arteries, which can predispose to arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation. Inflammation can lead to heart failure and coronary artery diseases and blocks. Poor sleep habits can lead to unhealthy habits. Increased stress, decreased motivation, decrease activeness in the daytime, unhealthy food consumption, Intoxicating substances such as smoking, tobacco, alcohol, and drug consumption, which over a period of time can lead to heart diseases and blocks.”

A research conducted showed that people who sleep less, live less. Asserting that sleeping is not a luxury but a necessity, Dr Ruchit Shah said, “We strongly emphasize that sleeping on time every day is important. Achieve at least seven to eight hours of sleep a day. Switch off all electronic devices 30 to 60 minutes before you sleep. Avoid use of caffeine or intoxicating substances one hour prior to sleeping and have healthy diet and also take adequate exposure to daylight. Sleep deprivation for a day or two may not be harmful. It can be easily coped up but if there's sleep deprivation for a period of months or years, this can lead to compromised heart health and early death and lot of diseases.”

Dr Chandrashekhar Kulkarni, Consultant, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery [CVTS] at Global Hospital Parel Mumbai, revealed, “Sleep is a very important part of the body, which allows recreation as well as redistribution of energy and the thoughts and experiences of a particular day. We have seen that there is a reduction of stress, which is there in the central nervous system hence, having a reasonable amount of uninterrupted sleep is a prerequisite for maintaining adequate function and mental awareness the very next day.”

Highlighting that sleep is related to your biorhythms, which control your heart rate as well as your blood pressure, which is a very important part of sleep regulation, he said, “Sleep also regulates the hormones of the body and also in regulating the hormones of food cravings. So we are commonly seeing that people who stay awake late always have midnight hunger pangs. This is because of an increase in hormone, which will stimulate your stomach to contract and ask and cause hunger pangs. This hormone is also related to the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates and the abnormal amount of it can always cause changes in the requirement of insulin. Such patients will be hence, predisposed to pre-diabetes as well as full-blown diabetes.”

He elaborated, “Usually the food consumed at night is either heavy calorie finger foods or from quick service restaurants, which usually has more amount of salt as well as saturated fats and cholesterol and results in reduction of the protective hormones of the body because a person is awake. It can cause a very dangerous situation where your heart, your mind, as well as your body, will be at severe risk. Heart disease has been seen in patients who are late sleepers and also who compromise on at least six to seven hours of uninterrupted sleep. It has also been seen, especially in laborers or in patients who have shift duties.”

Dr Chandrashekhar Kulkarni advised, “It is very essential that at some point of the day, at least have seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, which has to be compensated for and make sure that the biorhythm of the person is maintained as near as possible. It is an important tool to prevent significant heart attacks in people who are especially prone to heart disease. It means that basically, people who are prone to heart disease should make sure that they do not add the fuel to fire and cause more problems for themselves.”

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