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Give Your Heart A Break

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Work, unsettled schedules, busy family life, Internet and sending texts and mails take up most of our time, which leads to shrinking sleep time. When we sleep, our heart rate goes down by 10 to 30 beats which leads to decline in blood pressure, resulting in peaceful sleep.  Less than six hours of sleep increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. We need sleep as much as we need to breathe and eat

What sleep does to our body

Sleep reduces blood pressure, releases beneficial hormones, revitalizes energy, eases muscles, boosts blood supply and advances tissue growth and repair. When we don’t allow our body to get necessary sleep, the process doesn’t happen in the beneficial way. When you’re denied of rest, your mind can’t work appropriately, influencing your intellectual capacities and enthusiastic state. In the long term, it can bring down your body’s guards, putting you at danger of developing a chronic illness and decision making abilities.  The more clear indications of lack of sleep are excessive tiredness, yawning, and irritability. Though we might resort to consuming coffee to stay awake, it is not a viable option.

Sleep loss and heart disease

The effect of insufficient sleep on the heart can be quite significant. Many studies show that people who sleep less than six hours are at almost 50% higher chance of developing heart disease or stroke and might even succumb to it. Chronic exposure to disturbed or insufficient sleep can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal lipid levels, increased risk of forming a blood clot and also developing diabetes. Optimal sleep of about eight hours allows the heart to get adequate rest. Interestingly excessive sleep, which is described more than nine hours also leads to heart disease or stroke with increased sickness and mortality, though the mechanism for this is less clear.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Snoring can be annoying to the ones listening to it. Regular snoring affects the heart and interrupting the supply of oxygen to vital organs. It occurs due to the mechanical obstruction that blocks the upper airway when asleep. Such people are prone to high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, heart failure and other forms of heart and arterial disease. This happens due to the release of certain harmful substances in the body which acts on the blood vessels and the heart. Although obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder, it can be treated. One way, is the use of a device that will help the person snoring to keep his airway open while he sleeps. Other options can be a mouthpiece to push his jaw forward during sleep, or in more complicated cases certain surgeries also help. Do not ignore snoring, especially when associated with increased daytime drowsiness or sleeping. It could lead to cardiovascular disease.

Lifestyle

A severe cause of heart problems related to lack of sleep is obesity which strains one’s body, especially the heart. Less sleep releases hunger hormones like ghrelin and cortisol resulting in unwanted increase in appetite. This in turn leads to obesity that paves the risk of a heart disease.

Another major cause leading to the lack of sleep and hence, heart issues, is depression. Sleep disturbance and depression are always seen to be interrelated. This close relation between both creates a negative impact on the heart, making it an important factor leading up to heart disease. Sleep deprivation can also lead to accidents at work or while driving, can cause premature wrinkling of skin, irritability & forgetfulness, decreased libido, decreased fertility and decreased immunity leading to frequent infections such as the common cold.

How to regulate sleep

Regulate Body clock: Follow a similar sleep pattern even during weekends, this routine will get your mind and body used to being on a solid rest-wake plan. As days pass, you will have the capacity to fall asleep rapidly and rest soundly throughout the night.

Sufficient hours of sleep: One should always sleep for at least seven to eight hours on day to day basis. This is the minimum requirement for our body as well as our heart. Otherwise, the rate of risk for cardiovascular disease rises.

Exercise: Regular mild or moderate exercise is a must. At least 40 minutes exercise routine; three to four times a week will help improving our sleep and reduce heart disease.

Avoid alcohol or caffeine: too much intake of alcohol or smoking regularly can disrupt our sleep. In fact, drinking soft drinks with high amount of caffeine can also keep us awake for a long time.

A NO to technology: All electronic devices should be turned off while sleeping to avoid any kind of distraction. The light from our gadgets is short-wavelength enriched, which means it has a higher centralization of blue light than normal light,  and blue light affects levels of the rest inducing hormone melatonin, more than some other wavelength. Leave gadgets aside an hour before you go to sleep.

Reading a book, having a hot bath before bedtime, listening to soft and soothing music, mild relaxation or stretching exercises, making your bedroom sleep friendly (soft mattress, dark curtains, cool temperature, less noise, no electronic gadgets) and monitoring your own sleep pattern is helpful.

Hence, to have a healthy heart and a refreshing day, we must have proper sleep. This will not only help avoid cardiovascular problems but also assist us to work well on our hectic days.

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