If you want to avoid cardiovascular disease, start with a good night’s sleep. Stanford Health Care notes that sleep disturbances are linked to cardiovascular disease in 13 to 42 percent of patients studied.
When you aren’t getting enough quality sleep due to disturbances such as sleep apnea or insomnia, you will see the following physical changes:
- Increased blood pressure.
- Overeating, eating at odd hours, or eating foods high in sugar and fat to compensate for a lack of energy leading to obesity, putting strain on your heart and arteries.
- A buildup of plaque in your arteries..
- Inflammation because your body isn’t able to flush out toxins and free radicals that normally takes place during sleep.
According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, inflammation creates an unnecessary strain on your immune system making you physically unable to fight back against heart disease.You are also more apt to stress out, leading to hardened plaque in arteries, increased cortisol, and excess fat around your internal organs — all leading to cardiovascular disease.
Inadequate sleep can also lead to depression, which is a sinker for someone who’s at risk for cardiovascular disease. When you are depressed, you are less likely to eat healthy, get regular exercise and be social.
If you want to avoid the silent killer of cardiovascular disease, make sure to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. You also want to sleep soundly without disturbances such as the radio or TV, and make sure your mattress is accommodating for your sleep type.
Finally, create a healthy sleeping environment by preparing for bedtime with a nightly ritual. This may mean taking a warm shower or using essential oils for relaxation. In the end, remember that for every night you sleep well, you are giving your body a boost against cardiovascular disease.
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