Cardiovascular health is no joke. It’s the number one cause of death in the US. And now, the American Heart Association has added an important step to ensure our hearts are healthy.
Heart health is affected by a large range of behaviors, like what we eat and whether we live an active lifestyle or not. There’s also getting enough sleep, a relatively simple request that’s become increasingly complicated to fulfill in our modern world.
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The journal Circulation published an updated cardiovascular health checklist by the American Heart Association. According to the AHA, sufficient sleep is part of “Life’s Essential 8.” This list, which used to be called “Life’s Essential 7,” is a questionnaire that’s been used since 2010 and measures respondents’ important areas of concern in order to determine their cardiovascular health. Entries on the list include diet, physical activity, nicotine use, body mass index, blood lipids, blood pressure, and blood glucose.
Researchers discovered that poor sleep was linked to obesity, diabetes, and a variety of health conditions. They explained that adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. These sleep hours must be continuous, allowing the body to enter its three stages of non-REM sleep.
There have long been links between sleep and heart health, with the addition of sleep in AHA’s checklist confirming just how important it is.
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A previous study published in the European Heart Journal shows that bedtimes have an impact on heart health, with people who went to bed between 11 and 11:59 a.m. having less of a risk of heart disease when compared to people who went to bed past midnight. Researchers theorized that this was due to people’s circadian rhythms, with these possibly being disrupted by earlier wake-up times.