According to the National Sleep Foundation over 18 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder. SIMED Sleep Medicine’s Dr. Larissa Lim weighed in on how quality of sleep can have serious implications on your overall health.
Sleep and heart health are closely intertwined. A study has shown that adults who slept less than six hours per night were twice as likely to have heart attacks or strokes as people who slept six to eight hours per night. Patients with untreated obstructive sleep apnea are at higher risk of developing congestive heart failure. Obstructive sleep apnea has also been linked to hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Proper sleep hygiene is important. Many Americans suffer from chronic sleep deficit. Dr. Lim has some tips for proper sleep hygiene:
- Set a bedtime and wake-up time allowing at least 7-8 hours of sleep with 30 minutes set aside for falling asleep
- Avoid caffeine after lunch
- Sleep in a dark, quiet, and cool room
- Avoid alcohol at bedtime
- Limit use of electronics at bedtime including computers, TV’s, smartphones, and tablets as they tend to delay bedtime
The warning signs of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, waking up gasping or choking, waking up with morning headaches or dry mouth, getting up to urinate, and frequent awakening.
If you have disturbed sleep, or are waking up tired after a night of sleep, a diagnostic polysomnogram, i.e. sleep study is the gold standard test to evaluate for a sleep disorder. There are a few different options for treatment of sleep apnea. Most patients find continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP provides the best method for returning to a long restful night of sleep.
Sleep is important not only to your heart but your health in general. Thankfully, achieving good sleep is something we all can do. Contact your SIMED physician to talk about your risk factors for sleep disorders. Set up an appointment at SIMED Sleep Medicine to discuss your questions and concerns with one of our board certified sleep medicine specialized physicians.
Author: Dr. Lim, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Sleep Medicine