When you’re sleeping, you might think your body is powering down, but it’s actually charging up. During sleep, the body repairs and restores itself. Lack of sleep can do much more than affect your mood and concentration; over time, lack of sleep can have a negative impact on heart health, stroke risk, and diabetes risk.
How much sleep do you need?
(Spoiler: You’re probably not getting enough.) The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Yet, about 40% of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep per night. The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 40 million Americans are sleep deprived.
Sleep and Heart Health
Sleep helps the body regulate stress hormones. Without adequate sleep, the body produces more adrenaline, which makes the heart work harder. Over time, poor sleep and elevated levels of adrenaline can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack, or even stroke.
Sleep and Weight
People who are tired, they eat more—as many as 549 extra calories per day, according to a 2012 study. Over time, this can add up to significant weight gain. In addition, lack of sleep and increased weight may also increase the risk of diabetes. In fact, diabetes and sleep problems often go together; diabetes can cause sleep loss, and poor sleep can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Know Your Risk
Could poor sleep be affecting your heart health? With a simple, painless ultrasound exam, the Association of Alexandria Radiologists can help you understand your risk for heart disease and stroke. Early detection and management is important! If you have had a prolonged period of inadequate sleep, talk to your doctor about the potential effects on your heart health. You can schedule an ultrasound exam with The Association of Alexandria Radiologists at one of our many convenient locations by calling 703-824-3260, or request an appointment online.