Getting good sleep isn’t just important for your energy levels.
Sleep is critical for the health of your heart.
How much sleep do I need?
Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being.
The amount of sleep you need depends on various factors — especially your age. While sleep needs vary significantly among individuals, most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night. However, more than one in three American adults say they don’t get the recommended amount of sleep.
While this may be fine for a day or two, not getting enough sleep over time can lead to serious health problems and make certain health problems worse.
What sleep problems can hurt my heart health?
Over time, sleep problems can hurt your heart health.
Sleep apnea happens when your airway gets blocked repeatedly during sleep, causing you to stop breathing for short amounts of time. Sleep apnea can be caused by certain health problems, such as obesity and heart failure.
Sleep apnea affects how much oxygen your body gets while you sleep and increases the risk for many health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
What health conditions are linked to a lack of sleep?
Adults who sleep less than 7 hours each night are more likely to say they have had health problems, including heart attack, asthma, and depression. Some of these health problems raise the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. These health problems include:
High blood pressure
During normal sleep, your blood pressure goes down. Having sleep problems means your blood pressure stays higher for a longer amount of time. High blood pressure is one of the leading risks for heart disease and stroke. About one in three adults have high blood pressure.
Type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that causes sugar to build up in your blood, a condition that can damage your blood vessels. Some studies show that getting enough good sleep may help people improve blood sugar control.
Lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy weight gain. This is especially true for children and adolescents, who need more sleep than adults. Not getting enough sleep may affect a part of the brain that controls hunger.
If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as sleepiness during the day or when you expect to be awake and alert, snoring, leg cramps or tingling, gasping or difficulty breathing during sleep, prolonged insomnia or another symptom that is preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care physician or find a sleep professional to determine the underlying cause.