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Care about your heart? Try to sleep better, suggests a new study

A group of researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health evaluated the American Heart Association’s recently expanded metric — which now includes sleep as it relates to cardiovascular disease risk.

The study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association provided evidence that sleep plays an important role when it comes to heart health.

“Our results show that sleep health is integral to heart health and that an expanded definition of cardiovascular health that includes sleep is more predictive of future heart disease risk,” said study lead author Nour Makarem, PhD. , assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, told Fox News Digital.

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“Our study supports the inclusion of sleep as the new 8th metric of cardiovascular health,” said Makarem.

The study represents the first examination of adding sleep to the American Heart Association’s original Life’s Simple 7 metrics as a new 8th metric of cardiovascular health, said the study’s author.

The new sleep metric suggests 7-9 hours of sleep daily for optimal cardiovascular health for adults — and more for children, depending on age.

The new sleep metric suggests 7-9 hours of sleep daily for optimal cardiovascular health for adults — and more for children, depending on age.
(BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Sleep was recently added to the American Heart Association’s 7 Simple Measures, a checklist-type scoring tool used to assess an individual’s cardiovascular health risk.

The new sleep metric suggests 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily for optimal cardiovascular health for adults and more for children, depending on age, according to the American Heart Association’s statement on the revised metrics.

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The previous checklist included measures such as nicotine exposure, physical activity, diet, weight, blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure.

The tool that includes sleep is now called Life’s Essential 8.™

Columbia University researchers, deciding to evaluate the expanded measure, looked at approximately 2,000 middle-aged to older adults from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerois (MESA), a US study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors.

For a new study on sleep and heart health, participants shared data about their sleep characteristics and participated in a sleep exam.

For a new study on sleep and heart health, participants shared data about their sleep characteristics and participated in a sleep exam.
(iStock)

Participants provided data about their sleep characteristics and participated in a sleep screening, according to the Columbia University release.

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The researchers examined cardiovascular health scores that included the original American Heart Association Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) metrics along with different measures of sleep health to determine sleep parameters that should be a priority for cardiovascular disease prevention.

“Our results highlight the importance of taking a holistic view of sleep health.”

Cardiovascular health scores that looked at different dimensions of sleep, such as sleep duration, efficiency, sleep regularity, sleep disturbances, and daytime sleepiness — as well as cardiovascular health scores that included sleep duration only as a measure of sleep health – were predictive of cardiovascular disease (CVD), the researchers found.

“The most important piece of advice when it comes to promoting sleep health is to make sleep a priority.”
(iStock)

The study found that sleeping 7 hours or more but less than 9 hours a night was considered to be indicative of optimal sleep.

“Our results demonstrate that sleep is an integral component of CVH. In our study, even a CVH score that only includes sleep duration, the most widely measured aspect of sleep health and the most feasible measure to obtain in a clinic or public health setting, predicted the incidence of CVD,” Makarem said in the Columbia press release.

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“Remarkably, we also found that a CVH score that incorporated multiple dimensions of sleep health was also significantly associated with incident CVD,” she said.

“Our results highlight the importance of taking a holistic view of sleep health that includes mild and highly prevalent sleep behaviors and sleep problems – rather than focusing strictly on sleep disorders when assessing an individual’s cardiovascular risk.”

“Sleep seems to be the first thing people cut out of their schedules when they’re busy. [But] The first step to healthy sleep is making time for sleep…”

Individuals who slept fewer hours were more likely to have low sleep efficiency (defined as less than 85% of the time in bed after the lights were turned off), explained the press release on the study’s findings.

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Furthermore, those with less sleep duration were likely to have irregular sleep patterns — meaning variations in sleep duration and time — across days.

They were also likely to experience excessive daytime sleepiness and sleep apnea, the statement said.

Multiple dimensions of unhealthy sleep can occur — which may further increase your risk of heart disease, a new study finds.

Multiple dimensions of unhealthy sleep can occur — which may further increase your risk of heart disease, a new study finds.
(iStock)

The findings also revealed a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity/overweight in those considered “short sleepers”.

This suggests that several dimensions of unhealthy sleep may occur simultaneously and interact — which may further increase the risk of heart disease, the statement said.

Sixty-three percent of participants slept less than 7 hours a night and 30% slept less than 6 hours, according to the study.

The study also found that 14% of participants reported excessive daytime sleepiness – and 36% claimed to have symptoms of insomnia.

It also found that 39% had high night-to-night variability in sleep duration and 25% had high variation in sleep time.

The study also found that 14% reported excessive daytime sleepiness and 36% reported having symptoms of heightened insomnia.

Additionally, the study found that 47% of people who participated had moderate to severe sleep apnea (OSA).

“Keep a stable sleep schedule — that is, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day,” said the lead author of a new study on sleep and heart health.
(iStock)

“The most important piece of advice when it comes to promoting sleep health is to make sleep a priority,” Makarem told Fox News Digital.

“Sleep seems to be the first thing people squeeze out of their schedules when they’re busy. However, the first step to healthy sleep is to make time for sleep to ensure you get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. optimal duration to promote heart health.”

‘Better sleep hygiene’

It’s important to practice good sleep hygiene, which means putting yourself in the best position to sleep well by optimizing your sleep schedule, bedtime routine and sleep environment, lead author told Fox News Digital.

There are a few ways to get better sleep habits, she said.

“Optimize your sleep environment by making your bedroom comfortable, quiet, cool, and dark.”

“Keep a stable sleep schedule, i.e. try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day and try to keep the same sleep schedule during the week and weekends to avoid disrupting the sleep-wake rhythm of the body clock “, she said. .

“Use the hour before bed to relax and unwind, and optimize your sleep environment by making your bedroom comfortable, quiet, cool, and dark.”

Makarem also suggested getting rid of distractions like bright light and noise.

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“Avoid bright light sources like computers, TVs and phones before bed. Also, try to drown out any noise by using ear plugs or a white noise machine, and avoid stimulants like nicotine and caffeine,” she told Fox News Digital .

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel, reviewing the study, said that sleep is a time for the heart and brain to repair themselves.

“Sleep is a rejuvenating time for the heart and brain.”

“When you’re sleeping, hormones are released, including oxytocin, which are cardioprotective and promote heart healing,” he told Fox News Digital.

“When you’re awake, especially when you’re anxious, stress hormones are released, which increase blood pressure and overall stress on the heart.”

doctor Siegel added, “Sleep is a rejuvenating time for the heart and brain.”

A little boy yawns and falls asleep in his bed while snuggling a stuffed animal.  who slept less

A little boy yawns and falls asleep in his bed while snuggling a stuffed animal. Those who slept “less than the recommended amount had higher rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure,” a medical professional said of the new study at Columbia University in New York City.
(iStock)

doctor Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, director of Mount Sinai Heart and Dr. Valentin Fuster Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, told Fox News Digital, “This is a very informative study that shows an association between insufficient sleep duration (defined here as less than 7 hours or more than 9 hours) and worse cardiovascular health.”

He also said: “People who sleep less than recommended also have higher rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, which are also well-established risk factors for heart disease.”

“Insufficient sleep doesn’t get the respect it deserves as a cardiovascular risk factor.”

Bhatt was not part of the study, but was a senior author of the American Heart Association’s scientific statement on sleep and cardiometabolic risk.

He also said, “Insufficient sleep doesn’t get the respect it deserves as a cardiovascular risk factor.” He added that he hopes “studies like this one will change society’s attitudes about the importance of a good night’s sleep.”

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The Columbia University research team said in the statement that it recommends further research be carried out on the relationship of sleep with the lifetime risk of developing CVD.

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The team also said that clinical trials are needed to assess the impact of screening for sleep problems and improving different dimensions of sleep health through sleep hygiene interventions on cardiovascular outcomes.

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