7 of This Changes Your Heart for the Better


When it comes to having a healthy heart, most people agree that eating right, exercising, limiting alcohol and cigarettes are important.  Other folks and researchers believe forgiveness is essential for a healthy heart.  While all of these factors and others play a role in your heart’s health, new research suggests that 7 hours of sleep per night supports healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.  In fact, people with less than 7 hours of sleep per night are more likely to have high blood pressure and excess body weight.


The Study…

A group of Dutch scientists published their health study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.  The study observed 12 years of data on more than 14,000 participants.

In a nutshell, this observational study showed that people who averaged more than seven hours of sleep per night were at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (22%) and death (43%) – regardless of other lifestyle factors (diet, fitness, alcohol, smoking).

While this observational study cannot prove a true cause-and-effect relationship between sleep duration and reduced risk for heart disease, it does show that sufficient sleep is an often overlooked factor that plays a significant role in reducing one’s risk for cardiovascular disease.

7+ Ways to Improve Your Chances of Getting 7 Hours of Sleep

Sleep experts recommend the following habits to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.  In addition to these 7, I included one that I find very helpful.

  1. Exercise regularly and make sure you complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.
  2. Avoid stimulating activities just before bedtime (ie. computer work, video games, movies or television programs that elicit stress reactions such as worry or anxiety).
  3. Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine (ie. read before bed).
  4. Create a sleep conducive environment that is dark, quiet, and not too cool or too warm, with a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  5. Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime.
  6. Finish eating at least 2 to 3 hours before your regular bedtime.
  7. Eat a healthful, balanced diet with a minimum of refined sugars, which are stimulating.

On a personal note, one additional tip I find very beneficial is to write things down before bed – when seemingly necessary. Sometimes when I have many things running through my mind, I do not relax well and cannot sleep easily.  Those are the toss and turn nights, which are no fun for me or my wife.

So, to calm my mind, I take a few minutes before bed to write down all the things in my mind – sort of like a brain dump.  Once everything is written down, I find that I am calmer, more relaxed, fall asleep faster, and sleep better.

See These Related Articles:

The Fat that May Heal Your Heart

This Popular Supplement May Be a Heartbreaker

Low Levels of This Are Linked with Heart Disease

Are High Protein Diets Detrimental to Heart Health?


About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

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