You may be familiar with the symptoms of a poor night’s sleep. Feeling tired and yawning throughout most of the next day are just some of the obvious ones. What you might not be aware of, is that your sleeping problems are increasing your risk of heart disease. You may not be noticing it right now, but overtime symptoms like increased blood pressure and even stroke may rear their ugly heads.
Why is sleep important for heart health?
When we sleep and we enter the NREM sleep stage, our blood pressure lowers, and our heartbeat slows down. This helps the body to regenerate and recuperate. We also breathe deeper, increasing oxygen flow. During the nighttime blood pressure can drop between 10–20%, and studies have shown that a high blood pressure during the evening is indicative of hypertension and possible increased risk of heart disease.
A lack of NREM (deep) sleep caused by sleeping problems like insomnia or abrupt awakening during the night will allow the blood pressure to stay high. Jolting awake also increases your pulse rate and blood pressure. If the body is not allowed to experience the normal nocturnal blood pressure dip, and the blood pressure stays high during the evening, you will eventually develop a chronic blood pressure disorder. Hypertension is one of the risk factors for developing other cardiovascular diseases like high cholesterol and stroke.
The importance of getting a good night sleep for your heart health should not be underestimated. The heart is what keeps the whole body working, pumping oxygenated blood to every corner of our bodies. If we neglect our sleep, even though we are not experiencing high blood pressure symptoms yet, the long-term risk to cardiovascular health can be detrimental.
Make sure you get a proper night’s rest with enough hours in your NREM sleep phase to look after your heart. Being in a comfortable bed with a mattress that supports your body into its deep sleep phase will make a big difference to your overall sleep quality and health.