Heart failure patients require restorative rest; treating sleep disorders provides cardiovascular benefits

In this age of stressful living, rest is like life-giving oxygen that recharges us and makes us ready to face all of the day’s challenges.

Rest promotes brain function. It keeps us in the pink of health. It lowers stress and promotes sleep.

Nowhere is this more important than in heart failure patients suffering from a limited supply of oxygen in their organs.

They tire more easily because they have to catch their breath every now and then. They have trouble sleeping because inadequate oxygen supply in the brain makes it harder for them to rest peacefully at night.

The brain controls our moods. So heart failure patients could be irritable. Worse, sleep deprivation – which hampers brain health – can raise blood pressure levels, which, in the case of hypertensive patients, can cause stroke.

Therefore, sleep, which is closely linked to rest, should be non-negotiable among heart failure patients.

One study found that those who suffer from serious sleep-disordered breathing are in danger of suffering from a stiffening of the artery walls. This is a serious concern because a stiffening of the artery walls can cause heart failure.

According to the study, published in the European Society of Cardiology’s journal ESC Heart Failure, stiff arteries may increase sleep-disordered breathing in hypertensive patients.

People with heart problems have trouble sleeping, which is vital in lowering blood pressure and improving their health.

The effect of sleep deprivation can pile up over time, thus worsening the condition of heart failure patients.

Sleep apnea, a condition where the person stops breathing, only to resume the process after a while, is a big setback for hypertensive patients.

Thus, it is vital for heart failure patients to have their sleep disorders treated. It will decrease stiffness in the arteries and help prevent heart failure.

The findings also underscore the need for heart failure patients to sleep well at night.

A study on animals at The University of Alabama at Birmingham found that the heart repairs damaged proteins during sleep.

“Imagine that once a week you take out the trash, and then suddenly you stop taking out the trash on that day; it will build up in your house, and your home will be dysfunctional,” said Dr. Martin Young, who co-authored the study.

Seven to eight hours of sleep a day may even prevent and treat hypertension.

Sleep matters

Here are 10 reasons why a heart failure patient – or a healthy person – needs to sleep seven to nine hours a day.

  • It helps you maintain your ideal weight. Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest risk factors for obesity.
  • You take in fewer calories. Sleep deprivation increases appetite.
  • Better concentration and improved productivity. Sleep promotes mental health.
  • Maximum athletic performance. A study on basketball players showed that those who slept well moved and reacted to stimuli faster.
  • Enhanced motor functions. A study of almost 3,000 women found that sleep deprivation led to slower walking, decreased grip strength and difficulty in doing things on one’s own.
  • Lower chances of developing heart disease and getting a stroke.
  • Less chances of developing diabetes.
  • Lower susceptibility to depression.
  • Improved immunity.
  • Lower susceptibility to inflammation.
  • Improved social life.

Have a heart. Help your hypertensive loved one get enough sleep. It will do wonders for his/her health.

While you’re at it, get some sleep yourself. You’ll need it to take better care of your loved ones.

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