(AscendHealthy.com) – You may have heard how getting a good night’s sleep can affect your health. But did you know that having irregular sleep patterns — even if you’re getting enough sleep — can nearly double your risk of cardiovascular disease? For more details on why regular sleep patterns are so important to your heart health and what you can do to reduce your risks, check out the full article.
Irregular sleep patterns are defined as having no scheduled bedtime or wake time. Even with adequate amounts of sleep, you might have up to twice as much risk for cardiovascular disease if your schedule is irregular. Studies have shown regular sleep cycles with set times for going to bed and waking, and which also provide at least 7 hours of sleep, are best for maintaining a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Learn more below.
See How Irregular Sleep Patterns Might Affect Your Health.
What Are Irregular Sleep Patterns?
When an adult goes to bed and wakes up at different times each day, that constitutes an irregular sleeping pattern. Having no regular sleep schedule usually leads to varying amounts of sleep each night instead of the consistent 7-9 hours that is recommended by the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It might not be a matter of discipline, either. Many people who work rotating shifts are constantly having to change their sleep patterns for professional reasons.
The Benefits of a Regular Sleep Pattern
A regular sleep pattern helps guarantee that you get the proper number of hours of sleep each night. And adequate sleep allows your body to heal and keeps your mind sharp.
There’s a direct link between sleep and the reduction of inflammation. The body heals and reduces inflammation overnight while it’s resting. If your sleep schedule is irregular, your body doesn’t adjust to the varied schedule and you don’t always reach a deep, healing sleep consistently. Missing out on these deeper levels of sleep can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attack.
Detrimental Effects of Irregular Sleep Patterns
In a study underwritten by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a direct link was found between irregular sleep patterns and cardiovascular disease. The 5-year study found that the risk of developing cardiovascular disease was nearly doubled if their sleep patterns were irregular. A previous study found correlations between irregular sleep patterns and diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and other metabolic disorders.
Anything that affects the sleep/wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm, can lead to inflammation. Systemic inflammation can cause vascular damage and increase heart attack risk. But the disruption of circadian rhythms can also cause an imbalance in leptin levels, causing hunger, overeating and weight gain, which may lead to type 2 diabetes.
Sleep Better to Reduce Your Risks
Reducing your risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease might be as easy as maintaining regular sleep patterns. Things you can do to help include:
- Wake up at around the same time every morning (even on weekends).
- Go to sleep around the same time every night.
- Avoid rotating work shifts that change when you have to wake up and go to sleep if it can be avoided.
- Avoid working overnight shifts and sleeping during the day.
- If you take naps, try to take them at the same time every day.
Regulating your sleep patterns may not prevent other risk factors for heart attack, but along with other healthy lifestyle choices, it might reduce your overall risk of having a heart attack or developing cardiovascular disease. Talk to your doctor about your cardiovascular risk factors and how you might lower your risks, including regularly getting a good night’s sleep.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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