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New Research shows good sleep contributes to heart health

By Braid Blanks, bblanks@ktxs.com
Published On: Jul 05 2013 07:38:44 PM CDT
Sleep tips, sleeping

New research finds that a good night's sleep is very mush a part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Past studies have linked a lack of sleep with:

- obesity

- high blood pressure

- elevated cholesterol

- higher risk of diabetes

Now a study in the "European journal of preventive cardiology" finds that getting enough sleep acts to boost the benefits of other heart-healthy habits such as:

- exercise

- eating right

- moderate alcohol use

- not smoking

 In fact, researchers studying almost 15-thousand men and women found that those who got more than seven hours of sleep a night enjoyed a 22 per cent reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 43 per cent reduction in fatal cardiac events. And those who got sufficient sleep and practiced the other health habits had a 65 per cent lower chance of cardiovascular disease overall and an 83 per cent lower chance of fatal cardiovascular disease.

Here are some tips to make sure you get good rest to keep your heart healthy: 

-Stick to a sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle. 

-Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Don't go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up.

-Limit daytime naps. Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and during mid-afternoon.

-Include physical activity in your daily routine. It can help you to fall asleep faster and deeper. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. So aim for exercise earlier in the day or first thing in the morning.