Humans spend (or should spend) about one-third of their lives sleeping, as our bodies use this time to repair, restore, and regulate themselves. Getting too little, and even too much, sleep can offset this process and lead to serious physical issues, including high blood pressure and heart disease.
Bharat Gandhi, MD and Priya Gandhi, MD, MPH of Medinet Family Care Clinic, with two convenient locations in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas, work diligently to help our patients safeguard their cardiovascular health. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to stay one step ahead of cardiovascular diseases like hypertension by understanding your risk factors.
With that in mind, here’s a look at why getting the right amount of sleep is important for your blood pressure and heart health
The importance of sleep
There’s no shortage of reasons why sleep is important for your mental and physical health, but to give you an idea, here are just a few things that happen when you sleep:
- Your heart rate slows during certain stages of sleep
- Your brain processes the information from the day and forms memories
- Your metabolic and immune systems regulate themselves
When you sleep, your body takes this time to scan itself and make any necessary adjustments and repairs.
The link between lack of sleep and cardiovascular health
Over the years, researchers have established a link between sleep and cardiovascular health, and more specifically, how sleep issues can increase your risk for serious issues like heart attack and stroke.
The reason for this connection isn’t entirely understood, but researchers believe that an interruption in your metabolic system may be to blame. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to higher levels of cortisol, which are your stress hormones. These hormones initiate a fight-or-flight mode in your body that includes muscle tension and elevated heart rate, which can lead to hypertension.
One study found that people who have a bad night’s sleep typically experience a spike in blood pressure, which they carry into the next day. If you fail to get enough sleep night after night, these spikes can add up and lead to chronic issues with hypertension.
Too much of a good thing
Interestingly, there’s some evidence that getting too much sleep may also lead to hypertension and other cardiovascular problems. Researchers believe that oversleeping can lead to generalized fatigue and inflammation in your body, which makes it difficult for you to be active during your waking hours.
This inactivity can then lead to a wide range of serious cardiovascular issues, including hypertension and coronary artery disease, which is why we recommend exercise as one of the best preventive practices for your heart health.
Striking a balance
When it comes to sleep, it’s important that you strike a balance. We recommend that you get 7-9 hours a night of good quality sleep.
To get your blood pressure or heart health on track, and for all of your general health care needs, call our nearest office in either Houston or Sugar Land, Texas, for an appointment. You can also request an appointment with this online booking tool.