One of the best ways to ensure a healthy life is to practice healthy sleep habits. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are sleep deprived on a constant basis.
In total, 70% of Americans report that they don't get enough sleep at least one night per month (1), and 11% report they don't get enough sleep each night.
An additional report from the CDC found that 1 in 3 Americans don't get enough sleep each month (2). Sleeping less than seven hours per day places millions of people at risk for CVDs (cardiovascular diseases) like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Other chronic conditions that may result include obesity, diabetes, and frequent mental distress.
Sleeping too much, for ten hours or more, can also cause health problems (3). Sleeping more than 10 hours per night could put you at higher risk for CVDs like coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, especially in adults age 45 and older.
To find your sweet spot and protect against CVDs, practice healthy sleep habits, and support your sleep cycle with the right nutrients.
How to Maintain a Healthy Cardiovascular System Through Sleep
One of the best ways to ensure a healthy cardiovascular system is to make sure your sleep is undisturbed for long periods of time. Sleep is an essential time for your body to recover.
Start by creating a healthy sleeping environment. Make sure your room is free from any television sets or flashing lights, and invest in a high-quality nightshade to block out any light from the outside.
Each stage of sleep matters for preventing CVDs. They all play a unique role in resting, nourishing and repairing your heart.(4)
#1 Way to a Healthy Heart: REM Sleep
When you're able to sleep uninterrupted for long periods of time, your body will benefit most from REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This type of sleep is most beneficial for learning and memory (5). When you don't get enough REM sleep, your overall sleep quality suffers tremendously, which could increase your risk for CVDs.
The REM sleep stage allows your body to slow down your heart rate, stabilize breathing and lower your blood pressure. Your system is given a brief shutdown period, which is essential for cardiovascular health (6). The changes that occur during REM sleep greatly reduce stress levels on the heart, allowing it to recover from strain during your waking hours.
#2 Way to a Healthy Heart: Non-REM Sleep
Non-REM sleep is the lead-up to REM sleep, but it may be just as important. If you don't get enough non-REM sleep, you could wake up feeling groggy and disoriented.
Waking up this way could increase your risk for the aforementioned CVDs. All three stages of Non-REM sleep are important for overall health and have a synergistic effect.
Stage 1 is a simple transition between wakefulness and sleep.
During Stage 2, it is important for your body to remain calm and undisturbed. This stage begins the process of slowing your system down in preparation for deep sleep.
Once Stage 3 is activated, your body temperature drops. Also known as deep sleep, this stage helps your body to repair and regrow tissues, build bones and muscle, and strengthen your immune system.
People who don't sleep well during these three stages often find that they are unable to consistently reach their stride in life. Their energy levels drop and they crave unhealthy foods.
Getting enough sleep in these stages, along with REM sleep, is a key way to keep your heart and your blood vessels healthy, according to the CDC (7).
Clogged-up blood vessels with poor circulation to the brain may cause a stroke (8), and clogged blood vessels with poor circulation to the heart may cause a heart attack.
For these and several other reasons, sleep is crucial for preventing these two deadly CVDs.
Way #3 to a Healthy Heart: Combining Healthy Sleep Habits with the Right Nutrients
Without the right nutrients, your heart will not be able to repair itself. Blood vessels may remain clogged, heart muscles may not be repaired, and your arteries may remain blocked.
Poor sleep quality may cause your body to skip one of the main stages of sleep, meaning your heart doesn't get its much-needed breaks over the course of the night.
Thankfully, getting the right nutrients can help your body become and stay relaxed throughout the entire sleep cycle.
Some of the best nutrients and herbs for sleep health include magnesium, lemon balm, and melatonin.
Magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral. It helps your body to stay in a calm, relaxed state regardless of what's going on in your environment.
Low magnesium levels are associated with an increased risk of serious cardiac events such as strokes (9) and heart attacks. If you're not getting enough, taking a magnesium supplement or getting more through food is recommended.
Lemon balm is an herbal remedy that calms down the entire nervous system while helping to induce sleep in a natural, effortless way. Studies have shown it to be an effective remedy for insomnia (10).
Lastly, melatonin is a substance produced in the body each day that helps us trigger sleep each night. It can enhance both sleep quality and duration in adults (11). Learn more about other sleep-supporting nutrients here.
Final Thoughts on Sleep Quality, Quantity and CVDs
Sleep is essential for giving your heart time to recuperate and recover each night. Lack of sleep and CVDs like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke are directly correlated.
Considering that 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure, or about 75 million Americans, it's impossible to understate how important it is to maintain a healthy sleep routine and schedule.
If you're having trouble sleeping each night, it's time to start making your sleep a priority. Your cardiovascular health demands it, and your life may depend on it. For more information on sleep hygiene, read the 12 pro tips for better sleep. To give yourself the top sleep supporting nutrients, try Healthycell REM Sleep – an ingestible gel supplement designed to support all 4 stages of sleep with calming herbs, amino acids, and other ingredients to optimize sleep cycles.