Sleep is a marker of good health

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Plenty of quality sleep is important for a healthy heart. Photo: skaman306/Getty Images
Plenty of quality sleep is important for a healthy heart. Photo: skaman306/Getty Images


It’s long been said that getting a good night’s sleep will help you live longer – and now it’s officially been signed off as a key marker of good health.

A leading panel of cardiologists have added sleep duration to their list of “essential” steps to maintain a healthy heart. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that the ideal amount is between seven and nine hours kip each night.

In 2010, the AHA published a list of seven tips for good cardiovascular health, called Life’s Simple 7.

It included factors such as a healthy diet, regular exercise and quitting smoking. While the list has been refined and added to over the years, today’s addition of sleep is the first time a new tip has been added.

AHA president Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones said the move reflected the latest research about risk factors for heart disease.

“Sleep affects overall health,” Lloyd-Jones said. “People who have healthier sleep patterns manage health factors such as weight, blood pressure or risk for type 2 diabetes more effectively.”

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He added that new technology allowing people to track their sleep at home also meant they could now be told what to aim for to improve their heart health.

“Advances in ways to measure sleep, such as with wearable devices, now offer people the ability to reliably and routinely monitor their sleep habits at home,” Lloyd-Jones said.

The AHA, a charity organisation, recommends that adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Children are advised to get even more, with between 10 and 16 hours recommended for under-fives, including naps.

People who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk of developing heart disease as well as high blood pressure and obesity, the AHA said.

It recommends ensuring devices such as cellphones are set to dim mode to ensure the brightness doesn’t mess with your body clock and ensure notifications are turned off so they don’t interrupt your sleep.

Heart and circulatory diseases cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK – about 160 000 a year – which is equivalent to one fatality every three minutes.

READ: Has Covid affected your sleep? Here’s how viruses can change our sleeping patterns

In the US, heart disease is the leading cause for deaths – killing 659 000 people each year, roughly one every 36 seconds.

Some of the other seven AHA tips have also been updated. These include advising a reduction in exposure to second-hand smoke and incorporating the latest measurement guides for blood pressure and blood sugar. Mailonline


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