This Habit Is Key for Heart Health, Says the American Heart Association

The checklist for staying healthy may be long, but you won’t have trouble remembering this crucial habit that the American Heart Association (AHA) just added to their heart health essentials. According to the organization, the correct amount of quality sleep is indispensable for keeping this vital organ working correctly.

The importance of sleep is hardly news: it affects all aspects of our health, from our immunity to our cognitive functions. However, we’re not talking about just any kind of sleep.

According to the AHA, adults need seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night, or their cardiovascular health may suffer. Adolescents require even more. They are recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep, which many find difficult to fulfill. Despite being aware of the importance of sleep, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that over a third of Americans don’t get enough rest.

Chronic sleep deprivation can have dire consequences. It’s linked to obesity and increased insulin resistance, just to name a few. Studies have also shown that short (as well as overly long) sleep duration is associated with higher mortality in general.

Conversely, people who get enough sleep show better control of their weight and blood pressure, which decreases their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Although it’s getting increasingly difficult to set aside enough time for at least eight hours of sleep every night, you shouldn’t ignore the AHA’s new addition to its “Life’s Essential 8” list. Sleep deprivation has lasting consequences that something as simple as going to bed a tad earlier can prevent.

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