Study: Bad Sleep Habits Could Lead to Heart Failure. Here’s How to Sleep Better Tonight
Recent research found that good sleep habits could reduce your risk of heart failure. The scientists administered surveys to participants that asked questions about sleep quality, such as sleep duration, whether participants are early risers or night owls, how often they felt sleepy during the day, and whether participants had frequent sleep problems like insomnia or snoring.
The scientists found that people who were early risers who slept 7-8 hours per night and didn’t have fragmented sleep (indicated by insomnia, snoring, or feeling tired during the day) were up to 42% less likely to experience heart failure than people who had unhealthy sleep patterns.
The factor with the highest impact on heart health seemed to be feeling sleepy during the day. Participants who had no daytime sleepiness had a 34% lower risk of heart failure than people who did.
Sleep hygiene practices
It’s no surprise that sleep is important. It’s common to think that going to bed at a reasonable hour is what you need to do for good sleep hygiene, but there’s much more to it than that.
Sleep hygiene involves things like:
- Addressing insomnia
- Finding the root cause of sleep disturbances like snoring or night waking
- Lighting and device use at night
- Nighttime routine
- Caffeine and alcohol use
A lot of people who had no trouble sleeping at the beginning of this year have found themselves
Beyond your heart
This study shows that quality sleep benefits your heart, but it goes beyond that. Sleep benefits your body from top to bottom and everything in between.
On the flip side, poor sleep can negatively affect your life in more ways than you can count. You can recover from a few rough nights here and there, but night after night of poor sleep quality can lead to things like:
These are just a few of the ways that sleep can affect your life.
How to sleep better starting tonight
Set a “lights out” time
During the day, decide when you’ll turn out the light. Ideally, you’ll head back to bed to wind down before you feel tired, and you’ll feel sufficiently tired when it’s time to turn out the lights.
Write out an evening routine
This can be small and simple, like brush your teeth and read a book. Or, it can be as elaborate as you’d like – add a relaxing yoga sequence, an epsom salt bath, prayer and meditation – whatever you need to do to cap your day.
Set a limit on devices in the evening
The wavelengths of light that come from screens can signal to your brain that it’s daytime and disrupt your circadian rhythm. Make sure you’re not on electronic devices an hour before bed.
No caffeine after lunch
Caffeine can stay in your system for hours after you feel the effects. Keep your coffee and tea consumption to the morning hours so that it doens’t rev your engine before bed.
If you tried a handful of these to no avail, you might need a doctor to evaluate your sleep and rule out more serious problems.