Healthy Sleep Habits Cut Risk of Heart Failure Nearly in Half

March 8, 2021

Disturbed sleep is linked with psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders while poor sleep exacerbates obesity, diabetes, and depression.

Making small changes to promote healthy sleep can dramatically improve your health and longevity, including leading to a 42 percent lower risk of heart failure, finds a new study.

The new findings add to growing research linking sleep habits with heart health. A healthy sleep pattern for most people, at least in terms of heart health, means seven to nine hours of sleep, little or no insomnia, no snoring, early bird rising, and little or no daytime sleepiness.

Researchers from the United States looked at data from 408,802 UK Biobank participants ages 37 to 73. Those with the healthiest sleep pattern had 42 percent lower risk of heart failure overall. Heart failure risks decreased in early risers by 8 percent, seven- to eight-hour sleepers by 12 percent, infrequent insomniacs by 17 percent, and infrequent nappers by 34 percent.(i)

In another meta-analysis of 474,684 patients, sleeping fewer than six hours or more than eight hours was tied to higher risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease and stroke, and those who slept more than eight hours also had higher total cardiovascular disease risks.(ii)

Napping once or twice a week actually helped reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 48 percent in a sample of 3,462 Swiss subjects, but the benefits decreased with frequent naps.(iii) Meta-analysis of 313,651 participants reported that people who took naps of more than an hour had a 30 percent greater risk of all-cause death and 34 percent higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease compared to those who took no naps.(iv)

In one study of 935 diabetic women published in Diabetes Care, long and short sleeping, as well as snoring, were biomarkers of cardiovascular disease.(v)

Benefits of Sleep

A good night’s rest is an elusive goal for many, but people live the longest when they sleep seven to eight hours a night.(vi) Sleep is restorative and necessary for your body’s functional processes.(vii)

Maintaining good sleep quality, at least in young adulthood and middle age, promotes better cognitive functioning and serves to protect against age-related cognitive decline.(viii),(ix),(x) Sleep, long overlooked, is now recognized as the “third pillar” of good health after nutrition and exercise.(xi)

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