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Sleep Habits for a Healthy Heart

February 15, 2016

Sleep Habits for a Healthy Heart

We may not realize how much the little things we do affect our hearts. Did you know that sleep can also affect your cardiovascular health? Check out these sleep habits for a healthy heart, and dream your way to a long life!

Studies have shown that poor sleep can lead to poor heart health, and the reason being – inflammation. While it can be a catch-22, as poor sleep can lead to heart problems, as well as heart problems leading to poor sleep, it has been proven that those who have poor sleep routines in general have hearts with higher inflammation and cholesterol. Additionally, studies in men show that poor sleep leads to less flexible arteries. This condition leads to hypertension and puts more stress on the heart.

To counter these sleep inhibitions, try these sleep habits for a healthy heart. To start with, try going to sleep and waking up at the same time, every day. Sticking to a routine helps set your body’s internal clock and optimizes your sleep. Not only will you sleep more consistently, but your sleep quality will improve as well.

Next, don’t sleep in. If you are setting a routine sleep schedule for the work week, even a few hours here or there will disrupt your body’s natural internal clock. If you’ve had a late night, still wake up at the same time the next morning, and opt for a nap later in the day.

Speaking of napping, be smart about how you do this. Oversleeping during a nap can cause you to have trouble sleeping that same night, and experiencing insomnia-like symptoms during your nap may offset your sleep schedule as well. Always limit naps to 15-20 minutes for a quick recharge mid-day. Napping on the weekends is a great way to catch up on weekly sleep deprivation, these naps should not exceed 2 hours.

Limiting the amount of screen time you have prior to bed will help your sleep schedule. Our eyes are very sensitive to the blue light emitted from screens (tv, computers, tablets, and phones) and it can disrupt our REM cycle. Put away the electronics a couple hours before bed, and see the difference in your sleep. Alternatively you may wish to invest in amber coloured glasses to where when using electronic devices before bed, this will reduce the chance hyper alertness from screen time before bed.

Be smart about exercising and what you are consuming. Ensuring you are getting the right amount of exercise in a week will help your body in realizing it needs to catch up on sleep. With that being said, try to finish up vigorous workouts 3 hours before bed so that your body can wind down appropriately. Limit caffeine intake throughout the day and stop drinking caffeinated beverages after lunch – caffeine can affect your body 10-12 hours after consumption! Avoid big meals and alcohol in the evening if possible.

These minor adjustments in your schedule can really help with building your cardiovascular health. Try some of these sleep habits for a healthy heart!

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