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:

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