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Sleep Needed for Heart Health – Life’s Essential 8

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US and globally. Your heart needs healthy sleep, according to new guidelines from the American Heart Association. In June 2022, the American Heart Association added sleep to one of its Life’s Essential 8 for cardiovascular health. Updated from Life’s Simple 7, Life’s Essential 8 includes:

  1. Diet (updated)
  2. Physical activity
  3. Nicotine exposure (updated)
  4. Sleep duration (new)
  5. Weight 
  6. Cholesterol  (updated)
  7. Blood sugar (updated)
  8. Blood pressure


How Much Sleep Do You Need?

1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. Many people brag about how they can get through the day only on a couple hours of sleep. Whether it be true or involve a lot of coffee in the morning, most adults need approximately 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Kids and teenagers need even more: 10-16 hours for ages 5 and younger, 9-12 hours for ages 6-12, and 8-10 hours for ages 13-18.

Sleep impacts overall health. Poor sleep can put you at higher risk for Alzeihmers, cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, obesity and more. In addition, poor sleep can also cause breathing problems, hormone imbalance, memory and cognitive issues, stress, weight gain, and inflammation. 

Healthier sleep patterns can improve mood, energy muscle gain, brain functionality and alertness. It can also help you manage blood pressure levels, weight, or risk for Type 2 diabetes.

New Circulation Journal Report Reveals Concerning Data

Only 1 in 5 people in the U.S. has optimal heart health. In a study published in Circulation in June 2022, researchers used the AHA’s new Life’s Essential 8 criteria among 23,409 participants, representing 201,728,000 adults and 74,435,000 children. Life’s Essential 8 CVH score ranges between 0 (lowest) to 100 (highest) and is used to determine your overall cardiovascular health. The results of the study showed an average cardiovascular health (CVH) score of 64.7, which is well below optimal levels within the US population.

The study also showed only 0.45% of adults scored 100 on Life’s Essential 8. Women had slightly higher CVH scores than men, and scores were generally lower at older ages. The lowest scores were generally found in the diet, physical activity and BMI categories.

How to Get Better Sleep

There are many ways you can improve your bedtime routine and daily habits to reach optimal sleep hygiene. Some include being consistent in your sleep schedule, paying attention to what you eat and drink, creating a restful sleeping environment, and more. Above all, listen to your body. If you think you are not sleeping well or are excessively tired during the day, consult your clinician and create a plan.

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Read more about the relationship between sleep and a healthy heart on the American Heart Association’s website. Read, “What a Good Night’s Sleep Can Do For Your Heart,” in the Wall Street Journal.

How Sleep Affects Your Health (PDF from American Heart Association)

Photo credit: American Heart Association