Most people today skimp on sleep in order to “get things done”. You may want to rethink this strategy, especially if you’re at risk for heart disease.
Whether it’s email, a video game, the Web or TV, electronic devices keep millions of people, like you and me, connected 24/7. But the price for leading our fully wired lives is high: these deviations can keep us from both falling asleep and sleeping well. Hour by hour we hear the sound of a notification that triggers your brain’s pleasure center to see what’s happening. For many of us, this never-ending bombardment of alerts has disrupted our sleep hygiene. Sleep is integral for life and insufficient sleep, or disrupted sleep increases one’s risk for heart disease.
The National Sleep Foundation discovered that a high percentage of people use their devices just before bed and in bed. The study revealed that people are even checking their phone if they wake up during the night before returning back to sleep!
The physical act of responding to an email, text, or video increases the tension in your body which results in stress. Your body then produces the stress hormone cortisol which also disrupts sleep.
Heart Disease and Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is linked with:
- Increased inflammation and atherosclerosis
- Increased production of stress hormones
- Impaired immunity
- An increased risk of heart problems
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks
- Increased insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes (risk factor for heart disease)
- Obesity (risk factor for heart disease)
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart failure
Tips To Optimize Sleep
- Go for a walk and get some sun – regulates your sleep-wake cycle (the earlier the better)
- Avoid artificial lights & EMFs- Avoid using devices 2 hours before bedtime or if you must access a device consider wearing some blue light blocking glasses.
- Blackout your bedroom-Use dark curtains and make sure no lights are on. Even the small lights emitted from radios, clocks, DVD/TV units can be disruptive
- Smart caffeine intake- Limit your intake throughout the day. Caffeine has a half-life of 5-8hrs meaning it takes a while for it to stop affecting your system. Consider Cardiology Coffee which is lab tested for mold and harmful pesticides
- Balance Blood Sugar- In those who have poor blood sugar regulation, a nighttime drop in blood sugar will result in an increase of cortisol. This results in unwanted stimulation before bed.
- Calm Your Mind- Practice gratitude journaling or writing your thoughts out on paper. This is called mind-dumping and will help you not worry about so much from your day
- Practice Deep Breathing- On average, people breathe 12-18 short breaths per minute which can actually stimulate the fight or flight response leading to cortisol secretion. Try deep breathing exercises to help stimulate your rest and digest system and put you into ease as you fall asleep.
- Drink Herbal Teas- Natural sleep aids like valerian root and chamomile have been shown to improve quality and duration of sleep.
- Get Regular Movement- Getting just 30 minutes of exercise/movement a day can improve your sleep quality.
- Exchange LEDs For Incandescent Bulbs- Incandescent lights emit red and near infrared wavelengths and very little in the blue wavelengths, making them a far healthier type of lighting in general. You can consider red light therapy for improving your sleep as well!
Sleep provides time for the body to restore and recharge, playing a key role in nearly all aspects of physical health. For the cardiovascular system, insufficient or disrupted sleep can contribute to problems with blood pressure and heighten the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep is something that you can control and at a very inexpensive cost.
I recommend our Magne 5. It contains five different forms of magnesium, all carefully selected by the Natural Heart Doctor to optimize your health. This potent combination supports your immune system and health with magnesium that is easily absorbed and used by your body. Magne 5 serves as a double whammy in that it promotes sleep quality and, in some cases, it resolves atrial fibrillation!
As always, if you need more one on one support and a plan to help you overcome any health challenges you can schedule a FREE consultation with one of our health coaches.