Sleeping Keeps Your Heart Healthy written and illustrated by Janice Taylor, Life & Wellness Coach, author, 50-pound big-time-loser.
Heart attacks and strokes are more likely to happen during early morning hours.
What’s your risk for early morning heart attack? For a period of twenty years, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied the connection between a poor night’s sleep and heart attacks and strokes. During those two decades, 295 heart attacks occurred in the women’s group and 85 in the men’s.
Women who slept less than 5 hours a night were found to be 3 times more likely to have a heart attack than women who slept 5 to 9 hours. The women who slept MORE than 9 hours were at risk as well. Men showed less significant results.
While You Are Sleeping . . . your brain is hard at work developing new neuro-pathways that are essential to learning, creating memories and a-Ha moments (a.k.a. insights).
Sleep gives your heart and vascular system a much needed and deserved rest. Your heart rate and blood pressure gradually slow down as you enter non-REM sleep, a deeper sleep state. Followed by REM sleep, where your heart rate and blood pressure have elevated spikes of activity. Overall, during a good night’s sleep, your heart rate and blood pressure dip by about ten percent.
The All Important Dip. Without the dip, your are more likely to experience strokes, chest pain known as angina, an irregular heartbeat, develop cardiovascular disease and/or heart attacks.
The Stress Hormones. Lack of sleep stresses the body and may stimulate a stress response, resulting in the production of more adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones during waking hours. These hormones add to the likelihood that of your blood pressure not dipping during sleep, thereby increasing heart disease. In addition, cortisol has been linked to that spare tire that you’re carrying around your middle!
Having Trouble Sleeping?
• Limit your caffeine intake (coffee, tea and chocolate!).
• Limit alcohol and do not drink right before bedtime. It may make you sleepy, but alcohol interferes with REM sleep.
• Create a relaxing bedtime ritual: aromatherapy, meditate, think healthy thoughts.
• Take a hot bath, breathe deep, listen to restful music. Perhaps the sounds of nature.
• Eliminate nighttime worry. Shelve the negative thoughts for the next day! (Believe me, they will be there, waiting for you!)
• Take your siesta early in the day, not too close to nighttime.
• Add the following fruits to your food plan: papaya, banana, strawberries, sweet cherries, oranges, mangoes, pineapple.
• Sleep on your right side or on your back. It can add years to your life! Sleeping on the left side adds pressure and if you are overweight, that much more!
Those who sleep less than four hours a night are 73 percent more likely to be obese than those who sleep seven to nine hours.
In 1910, most people slept 9 hours a night, as compared to today’s 7 hours a night. More than one-third of us report daytime sleepiness, so intense that it interferes with work and/or our social lives.
To avoid wrinkles, sleep on your back!
New Point of View: A good night’s rest honors the body and helps it to merrily move along during the day!
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