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Sleep and Heart Health

09-11-2011

We typically sleep for around eight hours a day, which is around a third of a day. Therefore, we generally spend up to a third of our lives asleep (or more when we are teenagers!), so what on earth is it for and what benefits do we get from being a sleep? Before discussing this, a brief caveat: while there are numerous theories on why we sleep and what benefits we get from sleep, much of what is known is up for debate.

Alongside the many other benefits of sleep, there is one that is not often discussed, but is extremely important. Sleep helps to make your heart healthy. Our cardiovascular systems are under constant pressure and sleep helps us diminish the levels of stress and inflammation on the body. Because the heart is not having to work so much during those eight hours, the whole cardiovascular system gets some down time and the pressure across the whole system reduces, allowing the inflammation to calm down. Inflammatory markers are one of the key signs of potential heart disease, so ensuring that these are kept to a minimum is a must for all of us.

It seems pretty obvious when you think about it. The heart is a muscle and we work it much harder during the day. At night, it gets to rest, making it healthier.

 


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