Poor sleep linked to years of poor heart health

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A recent study by researchers at the University of Sydney and elsewhere has found that poor sleep can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and premature death.

The study analyzed data from more than 300,000 middle-aged adults from the UK Biobank.

The team found that different disturbances to sleep are linked to different durations of worse heart health later in life compared to healthy sleepers.

The study found that men with clinical sleep-related breathing disorders lost nearly seven years of cardiovascular disease-free life compared to those without these conditions, and women lost over seven years.

This means that snoring and trouble falling asleep or staying asleep can be a warning sign of potential health issues in the future.

Even general poor sleep, such as insufficient sleep, insomnia complaints, snoring, going to bed late, and daytime sleepiness is associated with a loss of around two years of normal heart health in men and women.

Women with poor sleep were likely to experience two years more of compromised cardiovascular health compared to healthy sleepers.

But men experienced more than two years. Intermediate sleepers lost almost one year of heart disease-free life among women, and men lost slightly more.

In the study, the researchers used an established composite sleep score comprising self-reported sleep duration, insomnia complaints, snoring, daytime sleepiness, and whether the person was a night owl or an early bird.

They came up with three sleep categories: poor, intermediate, and healthy at age 40, and compared this with their overall cardiovascular disease-free health expectancy.

The team combined the study participants’ self-reported data with clinical data from their doctors in the two years preceding the study.

They were able to compare health outcomes for self-reported sleep patterns and clinically diagnosed conditions such as sleep-related breathing disorders.

The team says while the average life expectancy of the UK study participants is around 80 years, people with clinically diagnosed sleep-related breathing disorders like sleep apnea lost over seven years of cardiovascular-disease-free life.

This highlights the importance of getting enough quality sleep for maintaining good health.

Sleep is a vital biological function that has been under-appreciated in public health policy to date.

It’s gratifying that these findings shine a light on the importance of sleep, and the need for it to be recognized as a pillar of good health, alongside physical activity and nutrition.

The time is right to ensure that sleep is recognized in public health policy.

Overall, this study shows that poor sleep can have a significant impact on our health, with even general poor sleep being associated with a loss of around two years of normal heart health in both men and women.

Therefore, it is important to prioritize getting enough quality sleep to maintain good health and prevent heart disease.

Having good sleep is important for our overall health and well-being. Here are some tips for improving your sleep:

Stick to a consistent sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine: This could involve taking a warm bath, reading a book, or doing some light stretching.

Create a sleep-conducive environment: Make sure your bedroom is quiet, cool, and dark, and consider investing in comfortable bedding and pillows.

Limit exposure to screens: The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with our natural sleep rhythms. Try to avoid screens for at least an hour before bed.

Limit caffeine and alcohol intake: These substances can disrupt our sleep, so try to limit your intake or avoid them altogether.

Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can improve our sleep quality, but try to avoid exercising too close to bedtime.

Manage stress: Stress and anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep, so try to develop healthy coping mechanisms such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.

By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining good health.

If you care about sleep, please read studies that new jaw surgery may help treat sleep apnea, and common sleep supplement may help boost memory function.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about pain relief drug that may increase risks of heart disease and stroke, and results showing people with heart failure may have different tongues.

The study was conducted by Dr. Bo-Huei Huang et al and published in BMC Medicine.

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