Sleep’s Affect on Heart Disease – BLS Basics

A marriage exists between two necessary parts of living – the need for a solid night’s sleep and cardiac health.  Yet it is often a love-hate relationship between sleep and our heart.  Indeed, to be lacking in either can lead to a rapid decline in overall wellness.  How is this possible?


Research has found a direct link to cardiac disease and lack of sleep.  Often associated with poor sleep habits are an increase in inflammation throughout the body, in addition to a heightened sense of the “fight or flight” stress levels.  Over time, this can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and obesity.  Conversely, each of these diseases can lead to an inability to sleep.  Sleep apnea specifically has been tied to pulmonary edema and eventual heart failure.


So what can be done?  The January 2007 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter has some suggestions:


–          Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

–          Use your bed only for sleeping or sex.

–          If you can’t sleep, get out of bed.

–          Go easy on alcohol and caffeine; avoid nicotine.

–          Exercise in the late afternoon.


Discovering a cause for the inability to sleep is the key.  Talking with your physician can help isolate the cause and working through a pattern of better sleep habits can help.  Preventing the possible onset of cardiac disease and the need for Basic Life Support measures in an emergency as a result is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.  Making sleep a priority is a great way to do that and stay healthy.


Your cardiac health is certainly something you don’t want to loose sleep over.


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I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

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