Getting enough sleep is a vital factor in maintaining heart health. Regardless of your weight, age, smoking habits, or general fitness, failure to get enough sleep can severely increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Researchers have not been able to pinpoint the exact reasons why sleep affects your heart health, but they have spotted a definite correlation between sleep and the underlying health conditions that determine your heart health. Bodily processes like glucose metabolism, inflammation, and blood pressure are all directly affected by not getting enough sleep or over sleeping.
Patients with sleep apnea have compromised heart health. The long periods of deep rest that you can only achieve through fitful sleep are needed to prevent the activation of certain chemicals that stop your body from lowering its heart rate and blood pressure. Overtime this can lead to higher overall blood pressure which can affect your heart health. Not getting enough sleep at a younger age can affect your heart health later in life as well. Studies have shown that teenagers and adolescents who don’t sleep well are at a greater risk of developing heart problems. They have higher cholesterol levels, higher blood pressure, and larger waist sizes.
If you’re having difficulties getting a good night’s sleep, you may be able to achieve it with a change in diet. Below are some foods that can help you sleep:
Almonds are a great choice for improving your ability to sleep because they contain a lot of melatonin, which is a sleep regulating hormone. They also possess magnesium (1 oz of almonds can provide 19% of your daily magnesium needs) which helps to reduce inflammation and cortisol, a stress hormone that can interrupt sleep.
Turkey is a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid that increases the production of melatonin. The protein content in turkey also helps you sleep well if you eat some before bed.
- Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is a sleep aid and you may already know about; it’s often referred to as sleepy time tea. It helps you to sleep thanks to its high amount of apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to sleep receptors in your brain. Brew some up an hour before bed time and sip from an insulated tumbler for maximum effectiveness.