The American Heart Association recently updated the essentials of heart care in the official journal “Circulation”, adding sleep health to the original Life’s Simple 7, and turning it into Life’s Essential 8 of heart care. It highlights that sleep quality has a certain influence on heart health and hopes everyone can pay more attention to sleeping well and maintaining health.
Taipei, TAIWAN (Merxwire) – Cardiovascular disease is the biggest cause of death from a single disease, both in the world and in Taiwan. WHO even pointed out that cardiovascular disease is actually the number one killer of death in the world, causing nearly 18 million deaths worldwide each year, accounting for the total 30% of the death toll. The latest research by the American Heart Association this year shows that sleep quality has a certain impact on heart health, so it is included in the essential elements of heart care, increasing the original cardiovascular health indicators from 7 to 8, and calling it Life’s Essential 8 .
In recent years, due to changes in diet and living habits, the age group of cardiovascular diseases has gradually declined. Among the top ten causes of death in Taiwan in 2021, heart disease ranks second, and high blood pressure rises to sixth. 27% of adults over the age of 18 have high blood pressure, 11% have high blood sugar, and 26% have high blood lipids. Therefore, the risk of stroke or heart disease increases. In addition to people with three high problems who are more likely to cause cardiovascular diseases, people who are overweight, have poor eating, have smoking habits, do not exercise enough, and have a family history of genetic diseases are all high-risk groups.
The AHA will include sleep quality in the heart care requirements, mainly because many studies have shown that poor sleep quality can affect heart health. According to an experiment by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health research team, the American Heart Association’s cardiovascular health guidelines, combined with sleep quality measures, will be more effective in predicting an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
This study is a continuous study of cardiovascular disease risk factors. The subjects are 2,000 middle-aged Americans. It mainly explores the relationship between cardiovascular disease and its related risk factors. It is part of the MESA study. MESA is led by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, assisted by six universities including Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, and Northwestern University. This long-term research and observations are spread across 6 communities in the United States, including more than 6,000 people of different ethnicities and genders. Their age is between 45 to 84. This research focuses on atheroid arterial health in middle-aged.
The subjects participating in the experiment had to fill in the survey data on their sleep status and fell asleep with the device for measuring sleep status at night, and the research team observed their actual sleep status overnight to complete the sleep record of each subject. The study found that the sleep quality of Americans is generally not good. More than 60% of people sleep less than 7 hours, and 30% sleep less than 6 hours, even though the recommended optimal sleep time is 7 to 9 hours.
Research reports have pointed out that when our sleep time is less than 7 hours, sleep efficiency is lower, sleep conditions are less regular, and the probability of apnea during sleep is also higher. Difficulty concentrating or drowsiness is more likely to occur during the day. Therefore, more than half of the subjects participating in the study had moderate to severe apnea symptoms during sleep, about 14% had excessive sleepiness during the day, and had many factors that increased the risk of heart diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases.
Lead author Nour Makarem, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said poor sleep quality often interacts with poor lifestyle habits that also make the heart more unhealthy. When you don’t sleep well and your body doesn’t get enough resilience, it helps your body refuel by eating more, especially high-calorie foods. Such eating habits can lead to poor sleep quality and become a vicious circle.
Insufficient exercise can also affect the speed of falling asleep and the depth of sleep, which is the risk factor for heart disease as diet. Poor sleep can increase mental and psychological stress, increase the chances of depression or bipolar disorder, and exacerbate heart problems. From this, we can see that living habits, sleep quality, and heart health is interrelated and should not be ignored.
That’s why AHA would update the method of protecting your heart originally announced in 2010, adding an eighth sleep health item from Life’s Simple 7, and changing it to Life’s Essential 8. Hope that when you take care of your heart, you should pay special attention to the quality of sleep to improve your overall health and reduce cardiovascular problems.
Life’s Essential 8
- Quit Nicotine: Stay away from nicotine, whether it is traditional cigarettes or electronic cigarettes.
- Healthy Eating: Maintain a balanced diet. Eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and reducing sugar, alcohol, red meat, and refined carbohydrates.
- Fitness: Adults need to maintain 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week.
- Losing Weight: Maintaining a normal weight range will reduce the chance of chronic diseases and benefit heart health.
- Blood Pressure: Maintaining normal blood pressure is good for cardiovascular health.
- Cholesterol: Develop good eating and living habits to maintain optimal cholesterol levels.
- Diabetes: Control blood sugar levels from daily habits to reduce the harm of high blood sugar to heart, nerve, and eye health.
- Sleep: Adults should maintain at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.