Lack of sleep could lead to heart disease

Updated on Dec 02, 2019 09:23 AM IST

Deprived sleep can increase the risks of heart-related diseases.

Deprived sleep can increase the risks of heart-related diseases.(Unsplash)
Deprived sleep can increase the risks of heart-related diseases.(Unsplash)
Hindustan Times | ByAnjali Mukerjee

Finding it difficult to sleep on a daily basis? Chances are that your body’s natural repair mechanism might need attention. As surprising as it might sound, sleep is the latest factor to be associated with coronary heart disease. People who don’t sleep enough are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and coronary heart diseases; regardless of their age, weight, smoking and exercise habits. Getting quality sleep is important if you want to lower these risks.

Tips to improve your sleep

Maintain an ideal body weight

Exercise regularly

Drink a glass of warm milk (skimmed)

Avoid eating spicy and oily food at night

Avoid taking stimulants such as coffee and tea at night

Take calcium supplements

Sleep in a friendly environment and set a mind-calming routine such as reading, drinking chamomile tea, taking a bath or listening to soft music.

According to researchers, sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes such as glucose metabolism, blood pressure and inflammation. Sleep deprivation may lead to hypertension, increased sympathetic nervous system activity and increased heart rate. The same, however, could be true for oversleeping.

While we sleep our blood pressure tends to be lower and is likely to rise if you are sleep deprived. Putting an unhealthy pressure on the heart to work harder, often leads to heart ailments. Normal sleep ensures normal blood pressure levels. Sleep deprived individuals tend to have higher levels of stress hormone — cortisol, which puts the body in a state of high alert and leads to weight gain and increased insulin levels. Cortisol is also responsible for the overall puffy look that we are familiar with when we haven’t slept well.

The amount of sleep that one needs, varies from person-to-person but generally most of us need seven to eight hours a day for optimum performance. Those who sleep for less than five hours a day, stand a 40% higher risk for coronary heart diseases as the lack of sleep narrows the coronary arteries, thus precipitating a heart attack. Less sleep also leads to irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness, in turn leaving us tired the entire day.

Alternative medicine has emphasised on the importance of sleep in maintaining good health. Now, we have scientific evidence that suggests how lack of sleep is connected to illnesses.

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