Earlier this week, we talked about the relationship between genetics, nutrition, and metabolic health. But what you eat isn’t the only thing that matters. In fact, sleep habits matter, too—a whole lot more than most people might think.
Sure, getting a good night’s sleep is critical to everyone’s health. But a study recently published in the European Heart Journal shows that, for people at high genetic risk of heart disease or stroke, it could be one of the very few factors helping to keep them alive.
Double the risk of heart disease
These researchers looked at a group of genetic variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs (“snips”), with established links to heart disease and stroke.
The researchers used blood samples from upwards of 400,000 subjects pulled from the U.K. Biobank, and assigned genetic cardiovascular risk scores ranging from high to intermediate to low. They followed subjects for more than eight years, and in that time, they identified more than 7,250 cases of heart disease or stroke.
Researchers also identified a few key trends. For example, when they figured genetic susceptibility into the equation, the risks of a poor night’s sleep skyrocketed: Subjects with both high genetic risk and poor sleep patterns saw their risk of heart disease jump more than 2.5 times… and their risk of stroke jump 1.5 times.
(It’s worth noting that even subjects with low genetic risk suffered with poor sleep: These subjects saw their risk of heart disease jump 1.7 times, and their risk of stroke jump 1.6 times.)
But luckily, the news here wasn’t all bad. Because healthy sleep patterns did offer some protection to folks already at high risk…
Healthy sleep lightens the load
Subjects with good sleep habits reduced their risk of both heart disease and stroke by more than a third compared to poor sleepers. (In this case, the healthiest sleepers were clocking seven to eight hours a night—with no insomnia, snoring, or daytime drowsiness.)
In other words, quality sleep couldn’t completely erase subjects’ genetic risk—but it did put a significant dent in it. And while this finding may only be observational, I can tell you that it’s no coincidence.
As I’ve explained here before, research has already established that sleep deprivation significantly increases insulin resistance and inflammation—a pair of conditions that fast track you right towards a diabetes diagnosis.
Studies have also linked shorter sleep duration and poor quality sleep to a buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries—two arteries in the neck that supply blood and oxygen to the brain—among older women in particular.
The bottom line? You can’t afford to skimp on sleep. Though I recognize as well as anyone that it’s not always a matter of choice.
Chronic insomnia can make bedtime a complete nightmare. And unfortunately, most conventional doctors won’t take the time to teach people how to sleep better. Instead, they’ll hand you a prescription sleeping pill. But these drugs are only a temporary band-aid “solution.” (Not to mention the litany of dangerous side effects they carry.)
That’s why I developed my Perfect Sleep Protocol—a comprehensive online learning tool that gives you information on natural solutions for beating insomnia naturally, and for good.
So if you struggle with sleep night after night, don’t wait a moment longer—click here to learn more and enroll today.
“Can good sleep patterns offset genetic susceptibility to heart disease and stroke?” Science Daily, 12/18/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191218153412.htm)