Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 16th March 2024

Healthy Heart Tip: Importance Of Sleep

Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Tip, written by the Health Promotion and Education Team at Heart Research UK

Insomnia, or difficulties in sleeping, can be linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Studies found that poor sleepers have a 39% higher risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, and seven to nine hours of sleep per night is optimal for a healthy heart. Poor sleep can lead to unhealthy habits such as being less motivated to be physically active and making unhealthy food choices. Both can cause obesity and high blood pressure, two risk factors for heart diseases. Here are some tips on how to get a better night's sleep.

Reduce your screen time
For at least one hour before bed, you should avoid using electronic devices such as phones, tablets and computers. These all give off blue light which reduces your melatonin production and prevents you from falling asleep. Instead, you could try reading a book, listening to a podcast or meditating.

Follow a routine

By following a routine, it improves your sleep hygiene. Your routine should begin with a set time to start winding down and relaxing. Going to bed and waking up should be done at the same time every day, including weekends for optimal sleep quality.

Change your sleep environment

Many people find it easier to fall asleep if their environment is right, for most this means dark, quiet and cool. This varies for every person, you may prefer to listen to white noise or gentle music to help you to fall asleep instead.

Diet and exercise

It is beneficial to avoid eating large meals close to bedtime with most studies recommending that you shouldn’t go to bed for three hours after your evening meal.

Drinking caffeine in the morning is unlikely to impact our sleep. However, with caffeine staying in the bloodstream for hours after consumption, you may find it beneficial to avoid drinking it after lunch. Swapping to caffeine-free alternatives might help.

Partaking in physical activity can help with sleep by increasing melatonin production. Try to avoid being too energetic for up to 90 minutes before bed as this can hinder our sleep.

Heart Research UK
Proud to stand out from the crowd, Heart Research UK is the charity dedicated to your heart. They inspire and invest in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves. For over 50 years they have driven advancements in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease to benefit patients as soon as possible.