We all know that eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly are key to having a healthy heart, but did you know that getting a good night’s sleep is equally as important for your heart?
New research from Harvard suggests that sleeping in short durations (less than 7 hours a night) can negatively impact the health of our hearts. Harvard’s research paper, published in Experimental Physiology, connects the number of hours we sleep to microRNAs, which are molecules in our body that play a role in regulating vascular health. MicroRNAs also determine how healthy a person’s heart is.
The study followed a set of 24 adults. Half of them had a normal night’s sleep (7 hours or more), and the other half had shorter sleep. What the study shows is that the microRNAs in the adults who had less sleep seemed to be lower. This information is alarming because any changes in microRNA’s such as this have been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, about 1 in 4 Americans develop insomnia each year. Sleeping can be difficult for some people, and some people have difficulty staying asleep throughout the night. If you are someone who struggles with sleep, here are a few tips to help you improve your sleep:
- Try to avoid electronic devices while going to bed - this stops your brain from being distracted
- Exercise regularly - just don’t do it within an hour or 2 before heading to bed
- Sleep in a cool, dark place
- Create a sleep schedule - wake up the same time every day
Always consult your doctor first.