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Your Mattress and Heart Health

Heart health starts with a solid good night’s rest. The importance of a proper mattress that fits your individualized needs and allows you to sleep restfully really should not be underestimated.

Science reveals that sleep quality is paramount to good health. Investing in a high quality mattress is not just a luxury. It is a life insurance policy for a longer, healthier life.  As your mattress facilitates restorative sleep, the positive effects accumulate, and often, within just a few weeks!

Lack of Sleep can Raise the Risk of  High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Studies have shown a significant correlation between high blood pressure and lack of sleep. Blood pressure is a measure of the amount of force that blood in circulation exerts upon the walls of blood vessels. Sleep deprivation interferes with that force as the nervous system’s functioning is compromised. Stress hormones become elevated resulting in an abnormal rise in blood pressure. Over time, blood pressure stability suffers as the persistence of poor sleep deteriorates the body’s blood pressure regulating systems and can be life threatening. And so, asking the question, “How can I improve my sleep?” is a very important one!

High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Heart Disease

The World Health Organization is warning that lack of sleep is increasing the risk of heart disease, comparing sleep loss to being potentially as harmful as smoking or prolonged sitting. Because heart disease, in particular, is one of the leading causes of death around the world, these findings are important to recognize in reference to our experiences with sleep quality. Understanding the connection between sleep and heart disease has been helpful to sleep studies and science tells us to pay attention! Therefore, the take-home message here is: “heart health starts with a solid good night’s rest”.

Lifestyle Tips for Improved Sleep and Reducing Risk

Fortunately, hypertension (high blood pressure) can be treated to a great extent through lifestyle changes. Here are some tips on how you can keep your blood pressure in check without letting it rise too high:

  • Monitor Sodium Intake-The amount of sodium in the body impacts the ability of the kidney to expel excess water from the body via the bladder. When higher amounts of sodium are present, the kidney is unable to extract all excess fluid. This leads to higher retention of fluid in the body which then adds extra strain upon blood vessels responsible for circulation in the body. Note: Late night sleeplessness can be a hazard as it may encourage snacking on salty foods.
  • Dietary Changes-a balanced diet that has suitable quantities of macro-nutrients can be very curative. Eating complex carbohydrate, lean protein, ample fruits and vegetables are recommended. Saturated fats and cholesterol-rich foods need to be avoided. Note: Proper diet is beneficial to sleeping rhythms.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption-high levels of consumption undo the blood-pressure-lowering effect and may, in fact, cause a spike. It also neutralizes the effect of hypertension medication, putting patients at higher risk of blood pressure rising. Note: Alcohol interferes with sleeping through the night.
  • Exercise-improves blood circulation, relieves stress and also keeps weight in check — all of which decrease blood pressure. Note: Regular exercise facilitates falling asleep and sleeping through the night.
  • Stress Management-linkages have been found between chronic stress and high blood pressure at a physiological level. Stress may impact your dietary habits and fitness routine, thus affecting blood pressure, particularly in those with hypertension. Note: It should not be overlooked that sleep deprivation may be causing the stress symptoms.
  • Regular Check Ups-maintaining healthy blood pressure levels requires being in touch with your physical state. Monitoring your blood pressure regularly will help you, and your doctor, recognize patterns. Note: Insomnia concerns should be reviewed with your doctor.
  • Consume Potassium- This a mineral your body needs to work normally. It helps nerves and muscles communicate, and helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells. A diet rich in potassium also helps to offset some of sodium’s harmful effects on blood pressure.  Aim for 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day, such as: Leafy greens, spinach and collards, citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges, root vegetables like carrots and potatoes, and fruit from vines like grapes and blackberries. Note: Potassium deficiency can contribute to painful leg cramps in the middle of the night disrupting important  REM sleep.
  • Indulge in Dark Chocolate-consumed in moderation, an ounce a day of 50 to 70 percent cocoa, studies indicate that the flavonoids contained in dark chocolate help reduce the risk factors for high blood pressure/cardiovascular events. Note: Eating sweets in the evening affects readily falling asleep and should be consumed during the day.
  • Stop Smoking-nicotine spikes blood pressure, and tar build up can restrict arteries. Smoking may not itself trigger hypertension in the short term; however, additional factors such as lack of exercise as well as alcohol consumption can be responsible for high blood pressure. Note: As a stimulant, smoking switches the brain to alert mode and hinders falling sleep readily.
  • Get some Sunshine-studies have proven that people who do not get enough sunlight can suffer from vitamin D deficiency which has been linked to high blood pressure. Note: After a day out in the fresh air, sleep can be wonderfully improved.
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