Good sleep to protect the heart

Poor quality or insufficient sleep is detrimental to health. A new study abounds in specifying the impact on cardiovascular health, with an increased risk of stroke and myocardial infarction.

Sleep is one of the fundamental elements of good physical and mental health. This notion has been supported for years by numerous scientific studies. As Inserm reminds us, a “poor quality/quantity of sleep increases the risk of irritability, depressive symptoms”. And in the long run, “lack of sleep is also a factor in the development of diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity”can we read on the site of the Sorbonne University.

However, 9 out of 10 people would not benefit from a good night’s sleep. According to Aboubakari Nambiema, a researcher at Inserm, this observation is hardly surprising: “the low prevalence of good sleepers is induced by the overwork associated with our lifestyle”, he believes. So to better understand the impact of this lack of sleep quality on cardiovascular health, he decided to carry out work based on several factors characterizing a good night’s rest.

A score of 1 to 5

A total of 7,200 participants in the Paris Prospective Study III (PPP3) were followed during this study. Women and men aged between 50 and 75, in good health at the time of recruitment between 2008 and 2011. They answered a questionnaire intended to assess their quality of sleep through 5 criteria. Everyone gets a score of 1 if they meet the sleep recommendations: 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night, no insomnia, no fatigue during the day, no sleep apnea and being “in the morning”. Each unfulfilled criterion obtaining a score of 0. Which gave a final score between 0 and 5.

After 8 years of average follow-up, 274 participants suffered a myocardial infarction or a stroke. The comparative analysis showed that those with a score of 5 had 75% less cardiovascular risk compared to those with a score of 0 or 1. And that at each additional point in the score, the person saw their risk reduced by 22%. Overall, if all participants had an optimal score, 72% of new cases of heart attack and stroke would be avoided each year.

How to improve your sleep?

What confirm the importance of promoting good sleep, respecting the recommendations of the National Institute of Sleep and Vigilance, including:

Moderate the consumption of stimulants (coffee, tea, coke, energy drinks) and do not absorb any more after 2 p.m.;

Practice regular physical activity to ensure the proper functioning of the biological clock and increase sleep pressure. Preferably stop 3 to 4 hours before bedtime;

Choose a calm activity in the evening;

Create a bedroom conducive to sleep: darkness, silence, temperature between 18 and 20°C;

Disconnect 1h to 2h before going to bed and leave the screens off until the next morning;

Go to bed at the first signs of sleep (yawning, heavy eyelids, itchy eyes, etc.), but not before.

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