Health & Wellness

Healthy Sleep Habits Can Reduce Your Heart Risk

Study after study finds the same thing—we need seven to eight hours a night

By Caitlin Finlay


We’ve previously reported that too much or too little sleep can increase your risk for heart disease. Now a new study suggests that healthy sleep habits patterns can lower your risk for heart failure.

Published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, the study looked at the sleep patterns of 408,802 UK residents between the ages of 37 and 73 and analyzed the relationship between those patterns and heart failure based on these five sleep behaviours: sleep duration, insomnia, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, and whether the participant identified as a “morning” or “evening” person. Someone considered to have a healthy sleep pattern was a “morning” person who slept seven to eight hours a day, had few or no symptoms of insomnia, did not have excessive daytime sleepiness, and did not snore. During a median follow-up period of 10.1 years, the researchers reported 5,221 cases of heart failure.

Participants with the healthiest sleep pattern were found to have a 42% decrease in their risk for heart failure. They also had a lower risk for heart failure if they were “morning” people (-8%), slept seven to eight hours each day (-12%), did not often experience insomnia (-17%), and did not experience daytime sleepiness (-34%).

While other factors influencing heart health can be genetic or more challenging to control, we can adjust our sleep patterns to reduce our risk of heart disease and heart failure. While it can be harder to control insomnia or snoring, the study suggests that getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep daily and getting up earlier in the morning will benefit your heart.

Photo: iStock/LSOphoto.