Sleep is essential for keeping your heart healthy

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Humans spend about one-third of their lives asleep. Did you know that this activity can affect your cardiovascular health? In fact, many of our biological functions recover and regenerate during sleep. Even though we should be getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, sleep disorders are becoming increasingly common. Insomnia for instance affects 13.4% of Canadians aged 15 or over.

Sleep disorders and cardiovascular health

Sleeping too little or too much can have serious consequences such as high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, several studies have confirmed that sleep disorders increase the risk of heart problems. A recent study even revealed that people who get less than 4 hours of sleep per night are 2.4 times likelier to suffer from a heart attack, coronary heart disease, or stroke than those who get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night.

How to improve the quality of your sleep

Because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, getting a good night’s sleep is vital to reducing your risks of cardiovascular problems. But how can you improve the quality of your sleep?

Here are a few tips that, when combined with healthy lifestyle habits, will allow you to get a good night’s rest:

1. Avoid sleeping too little or too much. That is to say, less than 5 hours or more than 9 hours per night

2. Create an environment in your room that promotes sleep:

    • Get a comfortable bed and cozy pillows
    • Install soft lighting
    • Don’t use your digital devices in your room
    • Use fragrances to help you relax and sleep

3. Optimize your sleep schedule: Set a schedule with fixed times for when you go to bed and wake up and stick to this schedule.

4. Get your body and mind ready for a night of peaceful sleep by developing a routine:

    • Eat a light meal a few hours before going to bed
    • Soften the lighting in your home
    • Relax with a bath
    • Shut your screens off half an hour before going to bed

5. Adopt healthy habits during the day so your body is ready to go to sleep when it’s time for bed:

    • Exercise
    • Reduce your intake of coffee
    • Avoid naps during the day

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