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How can extra sleep help my heart?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Next time you feel guilty about sleeping in, just remember you’re doing your heart a favor. If you can’t get two hours of continuous sleep, it means you’re not completing the restorative sleep cycle over the course of the night, which can have a harmful effect on your health. In fact, studies show that people who struggle to stay asleep had a 30% higher risk of heart attack. This is because insomnia can lead to excess production of the hormone cortisol; levels rise depending on the amount of stress you feel, causing your blood pressure to rise in turn. Your heart is equipped to handle a normal level of cortisol, but excess levels at night can lead to arterial damage, aneurysm and eventual heart failure.
An extra hour can lower your risk of developing calcium deposits in your arteries. Yes, calcium is good for you, but not in your arteries. If you get technical with your cocktail friends, remind them that calcium deposits are a precursor of heart disease. Also not a good thing.

Sleep also protects us from too much exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, which also dips during sleep. Chronic exposure to cortisol can trigger lots of unhealthy consequences, one of which is a higher risk for cardiovascular problems.

With all the stress people feel theses days, sleep can be a remedy to cope, and to do good for your heart, which bears so much of that stress.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.