Given what we just talked about on Tuesday, it’s pretty clear that the message about the effects of poor sleep on your overall health still hasn’t sunk in.
So today, let’s talk about another eye-opening study that recently found its way into my inbox: According to new research, adults with healthy sleep habits have a nearly 50 percent lower risk of suffering heart failure when compared to adults who aren’t sleeping well.
Needless to say, that’s a significant benefit. So let’s take a closer look at exactly what this study found…
The elements of a good night’s sleep
This research explored the links between sleep habits and heart failure among 400,000 subjects, with ages ranging from 37 to 73 years, over the course of a decade.
Scientists factored in both sleep quality and general sleep patterns. Quality covered details like sleep duration, insomnia issues, and snoring. And yes, these are all reliable indicators of a good night’s sleep.
But they also examined issues like whether subjects were night owls or early birds, as well as whether they struggled with daytime sleepiness. (And I don’t just mean fatigue—excessive daytime sleepiness in this case referred to unintentionally dozing off in the middle of the day.)
Those were the five main sleep behaviors that the researchers used to generate a healthy sleep score. And the healthiest sleep patterns included early rising, clocking seven to eight hours a night, and an absence of regular insomnia, snoring, or daytime sleepiness.
Even after researchers adjusted for influencing factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, medication use, and genetics, they still found that subjects with the healthiest sleep pattern had a 42 percent lower risk of heart failure compared to their poor sleeping counterparts.
Every healthy habit makes a difference
You’ll be happy to hear that it wasn’t just the perfect sleepers that reaped all the benefits. In the end, every healthy habit made a difference.
In fact, risk of heart failure was:
- 8 percent lower among early risers.
- 12 percent lower among those who slept seven to eight hours nightly.
- 17 percent lower among those without frequent insomnia.
- 34 percent lower among those without daytime sleepiness.
Now, I recognize that a lot of people don’t necessarily understand the seriousness of preventing heart failure. The lion’s share of the attention goes to warding off more urgent crises like heart attacks and stroke.
And granted, those cardiovascular conditions are more common. But heart failure still affects more than 26 million people. And clearly, sleep problems play a pretty major role in its development.
So if you’re still not making a conscious effort to prioritize sleep, I hope this latest finding will convince you to start doing so tonight… and to head straight to bed as soon as you toast the ball dropping on this historically terrible year.
But of course, I also realize that getting more—much less better—sleep is often a lot easier said than done. Which is exactly why I tackle how you can start sleeping more soundly as one of the top six resolutions you can make (and keep) in 2021.
Learn more in the upcoming January issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“A new year with a new normal: Six resolutions to keep you thriving through the continued chaos of COVID-19”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, click here to become one today—you won’t want to miss it!
“Healthy sleep habits help lower risk of heart failure.” Science Daily, 11/16/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201116075728.htm)