Heart Health And Sleep | Risks: All Things You Need To Know

Heart Health And Sleep

Heart Health And Sleep

In this article we will discuss risks of heart health and sleep.

There are certain biological functions that the body carries out naturally to cater to a human’s mental and physical needs. These include breathing, blood circulation, digestion, and also, sleep. Sleep is one of the most vital requirements for a person to live a reasonably healthy life.

It is the period in which the body goes through repairs and rest, physically and mentally. It gains a break from continually producing and spending high levels of energy. Sleep recharges, as well as rejuvenates an individual.

Recommended Sleep

In adults, daily sleep of at least 7 hours is the best way to prepare the base for a healthy lifestyle. While losing the quoted hours of sleep once or twice is fine, many people do not get to sleep in for that many hours regularly. 

The fast-paced life has sapped the sleep quality of these people as they cannot afford that many hours of sleep daily. 

heart health and sleep

It is clear that the deprivation of sleep brings about problems like lethargy, tiredness, headaches, and such, one wouldn’t quite go as far as linking it with heart complications. Several studies conducted off-late show links between shortened sleep duration, which is taken to be less than six hours of sleep, and an increased risk of heart disease.

However, it is essential to know that a disrupted sleep cycle does not immediately equal to risking heart diseases. Prolonged sleep deprivation increases the chances of the factors- that are responsible for bringing on heart complications, to develop in the body.

Cardiovascular Risks

Although a lack of sleep is the trigger for issues like asthma, depression, and other physical and mental health attributes eventually deteriorating, heart problems find their place through the following factors brought upon by skewed sleep:


A prominent physical feature that links heart disease and sleep deprivation is obesity. There is evidence that insufficient sleep is associated with weight gain. One of them is that “short sleepers” tend to snack more and eat more food in general.

It is observed that sleep-deprived individuals end up consuming fewer vegetables and fruits, against their high intake of sugary and fatty products. Fatigue, derived from the acute lack of sleep, does not encourage them to exercise, either.

To add to that, lack of sleep may harm various brain reward systems, including those that govern judgment, food choice, and energy intake.

High Blood Pressure:

As mentioned earlier, sleep is essential to give the body a break from actively working throughout the day. This includes blood pressure. It is proven that when the body sleeps, the blood pressure stabilizes, taking a backward leap from strenuous activity. Lack of proper sleep means that the demand remains higher for longer than it should, ultimately resulting in consistent sleep deprivation that would lead to heart complications.

Type 2 Diabetes:

This relationship is confusing to decipher. The main reason that regularly skimping on shuteye can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes is because the body’s hormonal levels get thrown out off their tracks. With ongoing sleep loss, less insulin- a hormone that regulates blood sugar- is released in the body after consuming food. 

Meanwhile, the body secretes more stress hormones, such as cortisol, which helps to stay awake but makes it harder for insulin to do its job effectively. The net effect is that too much glucose stays in the bloodstream, which can increase the potential of developing type 2 diabetes.

To add to it, getting fewer hours of sleep can increase the appetite and reduce the level of satiety of eating food just once, causing the body to crave carbohydrates and sugary foods in particular. Over time, indulging in these cravings or overeating, in general, can wreak havoc on the insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as the body weight. 

Remember, obesity is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Both these conditions will lead to poor heart health eventually.

Sleep Disorders:

One of the factors stated above, high blood pressure, can be traced back to problems like insomnia. Insomnia, the difficulty of staying or falling asleep, affects almost 1/3rd of the population at some point in their lives. 

With insomnia comes other psychological issues. It threatens to raise the risk of anxiety, stress, and an overall ‘on-the-edge’ sensation for insomniacs. And these are the perfect reasons for the blood pressure to escalate over a period.

There is also a type of disorder called sleep apnea, which results in the person stopping to breathe for short periods while they are asleep. This is caused due to the tongue sticking up to the roof of the mouth in extremity. It completely blocks off the air passage for both the mouth and the nose and can occur over a hundred times during a single night’s sleep.

This disorder is associated loosely with obesity and can pave the way for high blood pressure, heart attacks, and even heart stroke.

Ways to Sleep Better

Now that the risks of sleep deprivation have been explored, here are some tips to follow throughout the day, or during bedtime, to help get the body its well-deserved rest:

Natural Sleep Cycle:

Find out the best hours of the night, in which your body would sleep peacefully or assign a schedule that would be followed daily, regardless of it being the weekend the next day or a holiday. It would take some time for the body to adapt, but once it does, there will be no need to stay up late in a desperate attempt to catch some winks.

Control the Light:

The human brain still retains primitive characteristics, and one of them is related to sleep. Our bodies immediately start increasing the production of melatonin when it is dark, which results in sleepiness. Thus, exposing the body to sunlight is pretty important.

Being in an environment that has neither right forms of natural light nor the proper amount of darkness during the day and night respectively, would lead to skewed variations of melatonin being secreted.

Exercise and Eating Right:

This one is quite obvious, but sadly the most ignored. A physically active day is a great way to tire the body out. In contrast, scheduling and portioning your meals in the right way ensures the body doesn’t gain a sugar or carbohydrate high right before bedtime, and this includes caffeine control as well.

In case of sleeping disorders that require medical treatment, following the doctor’s recommendations use best medications and the above tips would be the best option to finally get those well-deserved snores and dreams.


Any other severe sleep issues demand the immediate attention of a sleep specialist. In all, 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily is not to be taken lightly. Now that it is clear that not doing so would build to heart-related health issues.