Heart Disease Prevention Starts with a Good Night's Sleep

Heart Disease Prevention Starts with a Good Night's Sleep

You can't live without it and you love it when you get it. Good sleep (did you think we were talking about sex again?) is a vital key to living younger and longer.

People who get an optimal amount of sleep -- 6.5 to 7.5 hours -- live longest. Regularly getting enough can make your RealAge up to 1.5 years younger. But getting too little OR too much can mean trouble's brewing. If you routinely log more than 9 hours a night, all that sack time could shorten your lifetime. (It's not totally clear why.) If you average less than 6 hours, you're prone to high C-reactive protein, a marker of aging inflammation that threatens your heart, brain, and arteries and invites cancer, arthritis and diabetes. Still staying up for late movies? Watch out: Lack of sleep stimulates your appetite, meaning you're likely to become tired and flabby.

So wake up and smell the coffee! Help yourself get a good night's sleep:

What's the connection between sleep quality and diabetes? Watch this video to find out.

  • Don't sit around. Being physically active during the day helps you sleep better at night. Just leave about 2 hours between gym time and lights-out.
  • Lose weight. Shedding excess pounds shrinks your risk of sleep apnea, the snorting, gasping, snoring condition that's one of the great rest wreckers (yours and your partner's). That's important because you need stretches of at least 1.5 hours of uninterrupted ZZZs to feel fully restored. Here are five foods that will help you sleep.
  • Reserve your bedroom for sleep and love. Clear out TVs, cell phones, work, small fry. Meditate a little. If deep breathing turns to heavy breathing, you'll sleep even better.

Medically reviewed in April 2019.

More On Heart Disease

Eat This for Breakfast for a Young Heart

article

Eat This for Breakfast for a Young Heart
Intensify the heart-strengthening benefit of your morning meal by tossing fresh berries into your whole-grain cereal. This fruit-and-cereal combo giv...
When to Worry About Chest Pain

article

When to Worry About Chest Pain
Sometimes chest pain is just chest pain. Sometimes it’s only a muscle strain, heartburn or bronchitis. “More often than not there are benign reasons,”...
Heart-Healthy Treatments for Coronary Artery Disease

article

Heart-Healthy Treatments for Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease (otherwise known as CAD) is the most common type of heart disease in the United States and the leading cause of death among Am...
The 3 Main Types of Heart Valve Disease

article

The 3 Main Types of Heart Valve Disease
The heart is a four-chambered, muscular organ that pumps blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to the body and transports blood to the lungs to exchange...