Restoring Good Sleep Prevents Heart Disease and Strokes

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Researchers of the European Society of Cardiology presented evidence to show that restoring good sleep prevents heart disease and strokes. Health Line reviewed this data as well. The European Society of Cardiology annual meeting took place in Barcelona, Spain in August of 2022.

Details of the study

A total of 7,200 participants of the Paris Prospective Study III were recruited between 2008 and 2011. They were free of cardiovascular disease and examined every two years for a total of 10 years follow-up. The researchers used a healthy sleep score between 0 and 5, where 0 was poor and 5 was optimal sleep. A person with a score of 5 slept 7 to 8 hours at night and had rarely insomnia. They also did not experience daytime sleepiness, had no sleep apnea and were an early morning person type.

A lot of people in the US are either getting too much or not enough sleep. 1/3 of people in the US are not getting enough sleep.

Findings of the sleep study

  • Those who started out in the study with a score of 5 were 75% less prone to develop heart disease or stroke in comparison to the group with a score of 0 to 1.
  • Researchers also found that if you sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours, you are at a higher risk of developing heart disease.
  • If all participants had a healthy sleep score of 5 there would be a 72% reduction of new cases of cardiovascular disease or strokes every year.
  • A 1-point improvement in the sleep score was associated with a 7% risk reduction of coronary heart disease or stroke.

 

Final statement of lead author

Dr. Nambiema, one of the lead authors said: “Our study illustrates the potential for sleeping well to preserve heart health and suggests that improving sleep is linked with lower risks of coronary heart disease and stroke. We also found that the vast majority of people have sleep difficulties. Given that cardiovascular disease is the top cause of death worldwide, greater awareness is needed on the importance of good sleep for maintaining a healthy heart.”

What you can do to improve your sleep

The following general points are useful to get into the sleeping mode. Ensure your bedroom is dark, soundproof, and comfortable with the room temperature being not too warm. You start to develop a “sleep hygiene”.  This means you get to sleep around the same time each night, have some down time 1 hour or so before going to bed and get up after your average “fill” of sleep (for most people between 7 to 9 hours). Do not sleep in, but use an alarm clock to help you get into your sleep routine.

  1. Avoid caffeine drinks, alcohol, nicotine and recreational drugs. If you must smoke, don’t smoke later than 7PM.
  2. Get into a regular exercise program, either at home or at a gym.
  3. Avoid a heavy meal late at night. A light snack including some warm milk would be OK.
  4. Do not use your bedroom as an office, reading place or media center. This would condition you to be awake.  Reserve your bedroom use only for intimacy and sleeping.
  5. If you wake up at night and you are wide awake, leave the bedroom and sit in the living room doing something relaxing until you feel tired and then return to bed.
  6. A self-hypnosis recording is a useful adjunct to a sleep routine. Listen to it when you go to bed to give you something to focus on (low volume) and you will find it easier to stop thinking.

 

Restoring Good Sleep Prevents Heart Disease and Strokes

Conclusion

A study presented at the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain in August 2022 involved 7200 participants. It spanned over 10 years. The result showed that sleep duration and sleep quality matter for prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Researchers found that if you sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours, you are at a higher risk of developing heart disease or a stroke. If all participants had a health sleep score of 5 there would be a 72% reduction of new cases of cardiovascular disease or strokes every year. A 1-point improvement in the sleep score showed an association of  associated of 7% as a risk reduction for coronary heart disease or stroke. All in all, this study was proof that restoring good sleep prevents heart disease and strokes.