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Sleep is essential for many things. If you regularly have poor quality sleep, you’re likely to experience low levels of overall health and wellbeing for various reasons. Sleep deprivation can negatively impact your concentration levels, your memory, your mood, and your energy levels. But for now, let’s focus on how a lack of sleep can negatively affect one of the most important organs in your body – your heart. While it isn’t immediately clear why sleep is so pivotal for the health of your heart, studies have shown that it is. So, it’s definitely a subject worth looking into!
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes sufferers to regularly awake through the night. The condition is characterised by a lack of breathing or extremely shallow breathing for extended periods of time throughout the night. These pauses in breathing can last anywhere between a few seconds and a few minutes, and can cause individuals to awake in a panic or with a jolt, as their bodies struggle to function without air and suddenly awake them to encourage a return to regular breathing patterns. Various factors and conditions can contribute towards sleep apnea, including obesity, allergies, sinus problems, and age. However, studies have found that individuals who suffer from sleep apnea and generally experience low quality sleep tend to have notably compromised heart health. Women suffering from sleep apnea are more likely to suffer women signs of heart attack. It is believed that a lack of long periods of rest causes our bodies to avoid lowering their heart rate and blood pressure. This means that these individuals’ hearts are essentially working overtime every single night.
Tackling Sleep Problems
While sleep apnea is just one example of how poor quality sleep affects heart health, logic would follow that any condition that causes a lack of proper, deep sleep could have a negative impact on your overall heart health. So, what can you do to tackle these problems and get your heart back on track? Well, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor with any concerns that you may have. They will be able to diagnose any sleep issues and tell you whether they are linked to cardiovascular problems. Once issues have been highlighted, you can then take active steps towards tackling them.
- Sleep clinics – if your doctor cannot directly tell you what is causing issues with your sleeping patterns, sleep clinics can monitor your sleep patterns and diagnose you properly.
- Medication – the go to treatment for many sleep based issues tends to be medication. This can offer a quick, temporary fix and help you to start getting a good night’s sleep as soon as possible.
- Therapy – remember that some sleep issues have psychological roots. If this is the case, therapy could help you to get a decent night’s sleep down the line.
While you might not have previously associated quality of sleep with heart health, it is extremely important to understand how the two factors are inextricably linked!