Sleep and Heart Health
We all know that diet and exercise are important for the health of our heart. Did you know that sleep is too? Trouble sleeping has been linked to an increased likelihood of heart disease, according to a 2011 study by the American Heart Association. It's not completely clear why less sleep is detrimental to heart health, but researchers understand that sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation, which can all contribute to poor heart health.
Do you know what helps insomnia? Acupuncture!
In a 2009 systematic review of randomized controlled trials, acupuncture was superior to medications regarding the number of patients with improvement of total sleep duration. In addition, acupuncture along with medications or herbs showed better effect than either medications or herbs alone.
Other things you can do to improve your sleep:
- Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet. If you can't escape a noisy environment, invest in a white noise machine, humidifier or fan to mask the offending sounds.
- Stick to the same bedtime and wake time. Yes, even on the weekends! When your body has a consistent rhythm it is easier to wind down.
- As part of your bedtime routine, shut off your electronics and dim the lights at least one hour before bed. Do some light stretching, read an old-fashioned book with real pages to turn, or listen to some relaxing music.
- Try a hot bath with epsom salts and essential oils. The cooling of the body after a bath can help to induce sleep. Some experts suggest doing this about 2 hours before bed.
- Exercise can help, but try not to do it in the evening, as it can have a rousing effect on your mind and body.
- Avoid napping, if possible, especially in the afternoon, as this has been shown to disrupt nighttime sleep in some individuals.
- Download the Relax into Sleep Meditation (#50 on the page) from the Meditation Oasis podcast page and listen in bed.
***This is the one exception to the no electronics rule. Get it cued up before you start your bedtime routine, and then just hit play and look away quickly!
A good night's rest is an important piece of your heart health, as well as your overall health. Don't skimp - make it a priority!
Please feel free to talk with us about any sleep trouble you may be experiencing.