Sleep image“We’re always talking about exercise and getting your heart going, so it may seem strange to talk about giving your heart a rest. But that’s just as important, says NP Marcia Polley at Sebree Mining.”

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, and other medical conditions.

“We tend to think that sleep is a time when everything shuts down,” says Marcia. “But a lot goes on when we sleep. It’s when our bodies go into construction and repair mode. Growth hormone increases muscle mass and repairs tissues. The immune system gets to work fighting infection.”

The NIH also reports that deep sleep is necessary for regulating the body’s use of energy. In their guide to healthy sleep, it says that the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese, to develop diabetes, and to prefer eating foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates.

“Several studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can raise your blood pressure and increase your blood sugar, which means your Heart Age will head in the wrong direction as well,” says Raymond Wells, MD. “All good reasons to make sure you’re regularly getting a good night’s sleep.

 

Can’t get a good night’s sleep?

  • Caffeine can take as long as 6 to 8 hours to wear off completely. Drinking beverages with caffeine in the late afternoon may prevent falling asleep at night.
  • Nicotine can keep you awake and lead to lighter-than-normal sleep. Heavy smokers tend to wake up too early because of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Although alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep, it prevents deep sleep.
  • Certain common medicines can keep you awake. And many medical conditions disrupt sleep. If you can’t get a good night’s sleep after ruling out caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, talk to your NP or doctor.

 

The National Institutes of Health booklet, “Your Guide to Healthy Sleep,” is available at:
www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/sleep/healthysleepfs.pdf