A new survey reveals the matters of the heart most impacting Britain’s sleeping habits. According to experts, a regular sleeping routine promotes good heart health long term.
Data reveals, however, that key factors such as stress, health problems and caffeine are all impacting how many hours of sleep Brits get a night, which may impact their heart health. Health problems cause an average of one hour and 23 minutes of sleep loss per night.
With Google searches for “heart health” increasing 12% in the last month to an average of 13,000 searches a month, it seems Brits are moving their concern away from commercialising heart matters post-Valentine’s Day and delving further into the science behind this integral organ.
Leading bed retailer Bensons for Beds surveyed Britain to understand which heart-related issues impact the UK’s sleeping patterns the most.
While Bensons’ resident sleep expert, Dr Sophie Bostock, recommends regular sleeping patterns and routines to promote better heart health, the survey revealed almost 20% of Britain are experiencing interruptions to their sleep due to stress.
Moreover, over 10% of Britons struggle to sleep due to needing the toilet, while 10% drink too much caffeine. When asked how much sleep is lost, the data revealed that the UK loses the most sleep due to health problems, stress and overeating. The results also revealed over an hour of sleep is lost on average due to heartbreak.
What impact can this loss of sleep have on the heart?
According to Dr Sophie Bostock: “The timing of sleep is controlled by our circadian rhythms, 24-hour patterns of activity which are written into the DNA of every cell in the body. Circadian rhythms don’t only influence when we feel sleepy, and they also govern appetite, mood, blood pressure, stress hormones and immune function; every physiological system runs on a 24-hour clock.”
“Heart attacks and strokes are most common in the early morning when we naturally see a daily peak in stress hormone levels, cortisol, and blood clotting factors. If stress levels are particularly high, or you’re very short of sleep (such as after daylight savings time), vulnerability to blood clotting events increases.”
“When we wake up and fall asleep simultaneously each day, according to a regular 24-hour rhythm, our internal processes work together. We wake up easily and feel sleepy at a similar time each night.”
Four tips for a healthy heart
- Aim to get ready for bed at a similar time each night, ideally switching out the light between 10 pm and 11 pm.
- Aim to wake up at a similar time each morning, as often as possible.
- Suppose you can’t stick to a routine, for example, because of shift work. In that case, other ways of protecting the heart become even more important, such as regular physical activity, tackling sources of stress, and meditation.
- To reduce the light in the bedroom, switch off lamps, computers, tablets, cell phones, and other light-emitting electronics before bed. Keep a torch or a dim light near the bed in case you need to get up at night.