If you have trouble sleeping, you probably dream of a good night’s rest, but how much sleep do you need for a healthy heart? Keep reading to find out.
Getting a good night’s sleep is not just a luxury. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) recently added it to its list of factors for quantifying cardiovascular health. Life’s Essential 8, which appears in the June 2022 issue of Circulation, describes how sleep has a direct and indirect impact on heart health.
According to researchers, how long you need to sleep for your heart health depends on your age. Here are their recommendations based on age:
- Ages 0 to 1: 12 to 16 hours
- Ages 1 to 2: 11 to 14 hours
- Ages 3 to 5: 10 to 13 hours
- Ages 6 to 12: 9 to 12 hours
- Ages 13 to 18: 8 to 10 hours
- Ages 19 and older: 7 to 9 hours
Sleep and Age
According to studies, you need less sleep as you get older. “That sweet spot – the Goldilocks spot – is seven to nine hours for adults,” says Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, FACC, FAHA, chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and co-author of the review. “If you’re over that, it’s not quite as beneficial. And certainly, if you’re sleeping much under seven hours, [you have] more and more health risks.”
Lloyd-Jones also clarifies that while nap time is included in the sleep recommendations for children 5 and younger, naps are not part of the metrics for adults. However, power naps may be useful for those who can’t get seven to nine hours of sleep at night.
Sleep and Heart Health
According to Nicole Weinberg, MD, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, poor sleep can increase the risk for severe heart problems. “Sleep has been this ‘black box’ in cardiovascular data. We haven’t understood it very well over the years,” says Weinberg. “Because of sleep study data, we’re able to see that some people have elevated heart rates while they sleep or decreased oxygen saturations when they’re sleeping. Those things can lead to cardiovascular health problems like elevated blood pressures, or put you at increased risk for heart attack and stroke.”
Getting Quality Sleep
If you want to improve your heart health, you need to make sure you don’t just get the quantity of sleep that you need, but also the quality that you need. “People who can sleep well can get their body to relax; they are comfortable sleeping,” says Weinberg. “Those are good global markers of how your body is resting and repairing.”
To get good quality sleep and improve your heart health, make sure you keep a mostly consistent daily routine. You should also avoid caffeine, alcohol, and screen time when it’s close to your bedtime.
In addition to getting a good night’s sleep, you can boost your heart health by exercising regularly (which may also help tire you out by night), eating healthy foods (but not too close to bedtime), and taking supplements like Circulation Boost. Its ingredients promote circulation, blood pressure, energy levels, and more. Give your health the support it deserves by getting some good rest, practicing healthy habits, and taking Circulation Boost.