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Sleeping for a Long and Healthy Life

July 13, 2011

Here are 8 heart-related items from the Top 10 Health Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep from Mark Stibich, Ph.D.:

man sleepingSleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Heart attacks and strokes are more common during the early morning hours. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Your heart will be healthier if you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

Sleep May Prevent Cancer

People who are exposed to light at night have a reduced level of melatonin. Since melatonin appears to suppress the growth of tumors, these people have a higher risk for breast and colon cancer.

Sleep Reduces Stress

Sleep deprivation puts your body into a state of stress, functions on high alert and increasing blood pressure and production of stress hormones. Higher blood pressure increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Sleep Reduces Inflammation

The increase in stress hormones raises the level of inflammation in your body, creating more risk for heart-related conditions, cancer and diabetes and aging.

Sleep May Help You Lose Weight

It is thought that the lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite. The hormones ghrelin and leptin, important for the regulation of appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep.

Naps Make You Smarter

A study of 24,000 Greek adults showed that people who napped several times a week had a lower risk for dying from heart disease, lower levels of stress and improved memory, cognitive function and mood.

Sleep May Reduce Your Risk for Depression

Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin--a deficiency makes you more likely to suffer from depression.  

Sleep Helps the Body Make Repairs

Sleep is a time for your body to repair damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposures.

Photo Credit: Carbon NYC