Recently I read an online article about sleep and the heart. It described a study about the amount of time people sleep, how they perceive the quality of their sleep, and how those factors might affect their heart health. It presented some interesting findings.
The study labeled “short sleepers”—people who slept five hours or less a night, and “long sleepers”—people who slept nine hours or more a night. Both groups had more health conditions related to heart disease, including high blood pressure, obesity, and coronary artery stiffness. The study showed that people who slept seven hours had fewer of these unhealthy conditions.
All of this seems like it’s in the Roseanne Rosannadanna category of “It’s always something!” or the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears categories of porridge too hot, too cold, or just right.
A while ago, I talked to a friend whose heart bothered her at night. She went to see a doctor about it and medical help relieved the problem. She had not been getting adequate sleep because her heart pounded at night. That disturbed her sleep, often waking her. She and her heart needed rest, but her heart wouldn’t let her sleep—kind of a vicious cycle. It was like her situation was in the “no rest for the weary” category.
I wear a popular fitness monitoring bracelet that tracks my sleep hours, restlessness, and awake times. But I don’t look at my sleep logs often. The thing I rely on is the classical how-you-feel-when-you-wake-up monitoring of sleep. Maybe I should start looking at those logs or keeping a sleep diary to see often I get a heart-healthy seven hours of shuteye. How does sleep affect you and your heart?