WASHINGTON — Could a lack of sleep lead to heart issues? A new study suggests insomnia increases your chances of having a heart attack.
“We have now strong evidence that insomnia is a disease and sleep is the medicine,” Dr. Hani Aiash said.
To explain the study, we spoke to the people behind it, Dr. Hani Aiash and Yomna E. Dean over Zoom.
The study started by looking at insomnia patients. It defined them as people who had difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and/or waking up early and could not fall back asleep.
Researchers wanted to see if there was a link between insomnia and heart attacks. They found that a lack of sleep can lead to myocardial infarction, which can result in a heart attack.
The results of the study showed a grave connection between the two. After looking over the health and sleep habits of more than a million people, they found people with insomnia had a 69% higher chance of getting a heart attack than people with normal sleep habits.
The research didn’t stop with insomnia. The study also found for heart health the ideal hours of sleep appeared to be seven to eight hours. Five hours or less increased heart attack chances by 56%. Sleeping too much also is not heart-healthy. The study found people who got more than nine hours of sleep also had increased heart attack risk
“Bottom line: If you didn’t park your car seven to eight hours or you sleep a lot you are exposed to (heart risk).”
If you want to prevent heart issues by getting sleep, here are five tips from the CDC.
- Go to sleep at the same time every night.
- Make your bedroom dark, quiet, and relaxing.
- No screen time- that means no smart phones, computers or tv on.
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed.
- Get exercise during the day.