Why you should find it in your heart to spend more time getting quality sleep

The kitchen may be the heart of the home but there’s no doubt that your heart benefits from the hours you spend in the bedroom

It’s no secret that good sleep is an important part of our overall health. Sleep is linked to our memory, our cognitive function, our physical wellbeing and our emotional state. It helps us fend off key health concerns like obesity, diabetes, stroke and kidney disease among others.

But what about the relationship between sleep and your heart? This British Heart Week, let’s explore the importance of sleep when it comes to looking after your ticker.

Why is British Heart Week important?

British Heart Week is an initiative designed to highlight the importance of looking after your heart health, with an aim to reduce the number of people living with conditions surrounding heart and circulatory disease.

According to the British Heart Foundation, today in the UK 460 people will die from a heart or circulatory disease. Of these 460, more than 120 people will be younger than 75. There will be 280 hospital admissions due to a heart attack, 180 deaths as a result of coronary heart disease, and 13 babies diagnosed with a heart defect.

In the UK alone, 7.4 million people are currently living with a heart or circulatory disease. Those are frightening statistics and it’s important to state that there can be many contributing factors to those statistics – from genetics to accidents to straightforward old age.

Sleep and your heart: what the research says

Research has shown us time and time again just how much of an impact sleep (or a lack of it) can have on our heart.

One report, published in 2016 by the American Heart Association, found that both too little and too much sleep, as well as sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnoea, were associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Meanwhile, the NHS reports that long-standing sleep deprivation is associated with increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation – all of which can put extra strain on your heart.

Furthermore, the Sleep Foundation reports that, over an eight year period, men with severe sleep apnoea were as much as 58% more likely to develop congestive heart failure than men without the night-time breathing disorder.

Poor sleep puts your health at risk

The amount and quality of sleep we get has a significant impact on our health, including the health of our heart. And at no time of year is this more evident than when the clocks change.

One study in Sweden found the risk of heart attack to increase by an average of 6.7% in the three days following the clocks going forward in spring each year. A further US study cemented this theory, finding that the risk of heart attack jumped 24% on the Monday after the clock went forward and an hour of sleep was lost.

By contrast, the same researchers found that the risk of heart attack dropped 21% on the Tuesday following the clocks going back in the autumn, providing everyone with an extra hour of sleep. Coincidence? It seems extremely unlikely.

How to improve your sleep quality

Getting enough sleep is key to your heart health. The National Sleep Foundation recommends between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, and this means setting yourself a sleep schedule that you can stick to. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, giving yourself around an hour before sleep to unwind, avoiding bright lights and screens and opting to read or meditate instead.

There’s also no doubt that choosing the right sleep surface is a key factor in getting better rest and a restorative night’s sleep. Explore our range of scientifically tested mattresses now and see what a Mammoth can do for you.