“Optimal” sleep associated with cardiovascular risk reduced by 74%

Presse Santé

New research confirms that getting a good night’s sleep is essential for cardiovascular health. Researchers have examined the relationship between cardiovascular risk and sleep quality. They found that better sleep quality is linked to lower cardiovascular risk. They noted that increased awareness of sleep quality and quantity could improve sleep quality and potentially reduce cardiovascular risk. Studies show that sleep disturbance is linked to multiple cardiovascular problems. Research also indicates that healthy sleep habits reduce cardiovascular risk, even in people with high genetic risk.

Most studies examining the link between sleep quality and cardiovascular risk have focused on a single dimension of sleep: sleep duration or sleep apnea. Therefore, the combined effect of various dimensions of sleep on cardiovascular health remains poorly studied. Recently, researchers from the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris (France) studied the joint effect of various sleep habits on the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. They found that a healthier overall sleep score was linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. They presented their findings at the European Society of Cardiology congress.

The better you sleep, the lower your cardiovascular risk

For the study, the researchers analyzed data collected between 2008 and 2011 from 7,203 men and women between the ages of 50 and 75. All did not suffer from any cardiovascular pathology at the beginning of the study.
Each participant underwent a physical examination and various biological tests. They also provided information about her lifestyle and her medical history. The researchers evaluated the sleep patterns of the participants through a questionnaire, analyzing:

sleep duration
the early waking chronotype, known as a “morning person.”
Sleep apnea
Subjective daytime sleepiness.
A score of 1 or 0 was assigned to each dimension. The criteria for a score of 1 or a “healthy” score are as follows:

early chronotype
a sleep duration of 7 to 8 hours a day
little or no insomnia
no sleep apnea
no frequent daytime sleepiness.

Thus, participants’ overall sleep scores ranged from 0 to 5. Of the participants, 6.9% had a sleep score of 0 or 1, and 10.4% had an optimal sleep score of 5. After a median follow-up of 8 years, the researchers noted that participants with a score of 5, optimal sleep, had a 74% lower risk of cardiovascular disorders than those with the worst sleep quality. They added that each one-point increase in healthy sleep score corresponded to a 22% reduction in cardiovascular risk.

What are the underlying mechanisms?

Current research suggests that healthy sleep is vital for resting your heart and brain. In the absence of sleep, there can be an increase in inflammation, a release of stress hormones, and a decrease in the removal of toxins from the brain. These phenomena can cause fluctuations in heart rate and increased blood pressure at night. We believe this can lead to heart conditions such as uncontrolled blood pressure – hypertension, irregular heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation, and possibly cognitive problems. [ou] memory difficulties. Poor sleep, if secondary to underlying sleep apnea, can also lead to an increased risk of stroke/blood clots through inflammation, as well as lack of oxygen at night and thickening of the blood, which results from chronic low levels of oxygen in the blood.

The increased tone of the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for increased circulation of catecholamines, which are hormones that cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and vascular resistance. Indirectly, lack of sleep contributes to the dysregulation of hormones involved in hunger. This contributes to obesity, which is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The researchers concluded that better sleep quality in multiple dimensions is related to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Expert tips to improve sleep

Sleep experts recommend prioritizing sleep and that 7-8 hours of sleep a night is ideal for heart health.

It’s also important to practice good sleep hygiene, which is putting yourself in the best position for a good night’s sleep by optimizing your sleep schedule, bedtime routine, and sleep environment.

Keep a consistent sleep schedule, meaning try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and try to keep the same sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends to avoid disrupting the sleep-wake rhythm of your biological clock . Take advantage of the hour before bed to rest and relax, and optimize your sleeping environment by making your bedroom comfortable, quiet, cool and dark.

Get rid of distractions like bright light and noise. For example, wear heavy curtains or an eye mask to keep light from disrupting your sleep, and avoid bright light sources like computers, TVs, and phones. Also try to muffle any noise by wearing earplugs or a white noise machine, and avoid stimulants like nicotine and caffeine.

Finally, from a public health perspective, it is essential to increase health awareness and knowledge about sleep quality. In fact, it could start early in life, perhaps in elementary school. This could represent a wonderful window of opportunity to learn early on how to practice good sleep hygiene.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information provided can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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