How much sleep did you get last night? Did you wake up feeling rested and alert? Adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, 40% of Americans don’t get enough of it.
In today’s world, quality sleep might seem like a luxury — but it’s an essential process that you can’t afford to skip. Lack of sleep makes your brain feel foggy, and even worse, it can have serious effects on your health.
In fact, lack of sleep increases your risk of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. In turn, these health issues can elevate your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
The good news is that prioritizing sleep can boost your heart health, and it’s easier than you might think. As part of our comprehensive Heart Smart Program, Kunal Patel, MD, and our team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute can teach you how to start sleeping better.
Exercise is good for your body and mind, and regular physical activity can also improve your quality of sleep. Strive to get around 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week to sleep more soundly at night.
Exposure to natural daylight also helps regulate your body’s internal clock, so exercising outside offers a handful of benefits. Try taking a walk or biking outside in the morning or afternoon.
One of the best ways to improve your quality of sleep is sticking to a regular sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, even on the weekends.
Establishing bedtime habits can also help you prepare for a better night’s sleep. Avoid eating, drinking, and exercising within a few hours of bedtime. Make time for some self-care, such as taking a warm shower or reading a book.
Avoid artificial blue light as you wind down in the evenings. Consider setting the screens on your devices to warm or nighttime mode or using blue light filters to help prepare your body for more restful sleep.
The place you sleep is just as important as your nighttime routine. A bright, loud, or messy bedroom can make it harder to fall asleep, while a relaxing environment can make sleep come faster.
Keep your bedroom dark and quiet by eliminating distractions like TVs, computers, and phones. Turn the thermostat down to make the room cooler, and choose soft, comfortable bedding and sleeping clothes. If you’re a light sleeper, a white noise machine can help drown out distractions.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the country. If you have it, you stop breathing for short periods of time while you sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart conditions, from high blood pressure to heart disease.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea are:
If you think you might have sleep apnea, don’t wait to schedule a sleep evaluation. Sleep apnea can be treated to improve your quality of sleep and lower your risk of complications.
When it comes to your heart health, don’t overlook the importance of a good night’s sleep. Contact our team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute. Contact the office nearest you — in Lakewood, Newark, Paramus, or Secaucus, New Jersey — to set up your first appointment.