Getting plenty of exercise, drinking water and eating nutritious foods aren’t the only factors that can affect your heart health. Research has shown that the amount of sleep you get directly correlates with your overall health, and poor sleep quality is linked to an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.
The average adult needs at least seven hours of sleep each day to properly function. However, nearly 35.2% of all adults in the United States report sleeping less than seven hours per night on average, while almost half of all Americans have reported feeling sleepy during the day between three and seven days per week, according to The Sleep Foundation.
Without enough sleep, your brain is unable to function properly and becomes more sensitive to negative thoughts and feelings. When this happens, your body releases stress hormones, such as cortisol, that can cause your blood pressure to rise.
Common Causes of Sleep Deprivation
There are many factors that can contribute to not getting enough sleep. Some of the most prevalent reasons include:
Stress. Anxiety and stress go hand in hand and can be a big source of sleep deprivation because stress activates your fight or flight response system, which inhibits the sleep hormone melatonin.
Poor sleep habits. Poor sleep habits can develop over time and can interfere with your ability to get a good night’s rest. Irregular and inconsistent bedtimes, late-night meals and using electronics before bed can all contribute to poor sleep habits and inhibit the release of melatonin.
Undiagnosed sleep disorders. Many sleep disorders often go undiagnosed and untreated. One of the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea, which causes your oxygen levels to fluctuate throughout the night, putting a higher strain on the cardiovascular system.
Improve Your Sleep
Simple lifestyle changes can significantly affect your sleep quality. To get a better night’s rest, focus on maximizing your comfort and minimizing distractions in your sleep environment. Here are some tips:
Develop a stress-relieving bedtime routine. Set a consistent bedtime routine and stick to it. Before laying down for the night, take a moment to stretch, breathe and clear your mind of any stress.
Cultivate peace and quiet. Silence is an important and necessary part of a sleep-positive bedroom. If you can’t completely eliminate nearby sources of noise, consider using a white noise machine, a fan or earplugs to drown out unwanted sounds.
Invest in a high-quality mattress and pillow. A good, quality bed is vital to ensuring a comfortable and relaxing space to fall asleep. The quality of your mattress can also provide proper support to your spine to help you avoid aches and pains throughout the night.
The positive effects of a good night’s sleep are immediately evident when you wake up feeling refreshed and recharged, ready to take on the day. The better night’s sleep you get, the healthier your heart will be.
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