Sleep for Your Heart’s Sake!
Time spent in bed accounts for nearly 1/3 of our existence. But when it comes to health, sleep is generally not regarded to be as important as our diet and physical activity behaviors.
With contemporary research, we are discovering that our sleep behaviors impact our eating behaviors, brain function, emotional well-being, and may have significant impact on our lifespan. There is almost no component of health that sleep doesn’t directly impact. A recently published study suggests that our sleep behaviors may even have profound influence on our cardiovascular health.
In order to examine the association between sleep duration and cardiovascular health, researchers used data collected from the PESA (Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis) study, a study involving 3,974 participants with an average age of 46 years old. The participants in PESA, all without diagnosed heart conditions, were asked to wear an ActiGraph (a device that continuously measures movement) for seven days and then undergo several imaging procedures (including a 3–D heart ultrasound and cardiac CT scans) in order to gather data regarding the prevalence and rate of progression of vascular lesions associated with atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries).