FOr more than a decade ago, the American Heart Association (AHA) urged people to follow “Life’s Simple 7” — a Cardiovascular health checklist It includes maintaining a nutritious diet, avoiding smoking, and getting adequate physical activity. Good adherence to each area leads to a high score, which health experts have long used to determine a person’s risk of heart disease. But in June, the group announced that the program was expanding to “Life’s Essential 8” to make room for another lesser known pillar of cardiovascular health: sleep well.
New research suggests that sleep deserves its high place. in study Posted in Journal of the American Heart Association On October 19, researchers followed cardiovascular events — such as heart attack and stroke — among 2,000 middle-aged and older people for an average of about four years. The goal was to compare how well AHA’s Simple 7 predicted cardiovascular events, versus when to include sleep. The researchers found that without sleep, a low minor score of 7 was not significantly associated with cardiovascular disease (although previous research has linked this to cardiovascular risk). However, when sleep was weighed, they found that it predicted future cardiovascular disease more accurately. Moreover, the people who scored the highest on the Essential 8 scale had nearly half the risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to the people who scored the lowest. How much time and how well a person slept had a similar effect on cardiovascular health.
Nour Makarem, lead author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, says the important role of sleep was not surprising. Previous research has linked poor sleep to less healthy habits, including less nutritious diets, decreased physical activity, and increased psychological risk factors for heart disease, including stress. Sleep is also associated with other cardiovascular health risks, including diabeticHigh blood pressure and obesity. Other research has indicated that sleep affects the mechanisms behind these conditions, Makarem says, including hormones control hungerthe body’s response to Insulinand the systems that govern Metabolism.
Read more: Why doesn’t everyone need 8 hours of sleep?
“Over the past few years, there has been a lot of accumulating evidence showing that different aspects of sleep are associated with future risk of heart disease, but also studies showing why Basic Physiological Mechanisms Makarim says. “It is becoming more and more clear in the scientific literature that poor sleep is an important risk factor for heart disease.”
Despite the growing realization of the importance of sleep, most adults do not get enough of it. In 2020, about 33% of adults in the United States slept less than seven hours, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. recommend For adults between 18 and 60 years old. People between the ages of 25 and 44 were more likely to not get enough sleep, as were Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and black adults. The researchers noted that inequality can make it difficult for some people to get enough sleep. For example, black Americans were found lack of restful sleepwhich has been linked in part to stress.
Another problem, says Makarem, is that Have a good night’s sleep It is not always seen as a priority. “Sleep seems to be the first thing people get out of their schedules when they’re busy, either socializing or working,” Makarim says. “The first step is to make time for bed.” Makarem also suggests building good sleep habits, including maintaining a good night’s sleep regular sleep schedule; Take the time to relax before bed Without a screen from a TV or phoneKeep your bedroom quiet and dark.
Makarim points out that more research is necessary after studying it, including research that follows people over a longer period and clinical trials that can test whether screening for sleep problems. change sleeping habits It can improve cardiovascular outcomes. However, she stresses that the weight of the evidence indicates that sleep is important for heart health. “We spend a third of our lives sleeping,” Makarem says. “It is very important to preserve many of our sides health and performance. “
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