Sleep Helps Your Heart

According to the National Sleep Institute, more than half of us say we don't get enough sleep. We all need sleep to feel rested but you might not realize there is a lot going on in your body when you are off in dreamland.

Dr. Reena Mehra specializes in sleep disorders at Cleveland Clinic.

She says a good night's sleep is also good for your heart.

"Your blood pressure slightly lowers, your heart rate slightly lowers, and your heart potentially does not have to work as hard," Dr. Mehra said.

When we sleep, our blood pressure and heart rate decrease to help protect the heart. Dr. Mehra says there tends to be less arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats while we sleep, too. She has also seen a connection between a lack of sleep and potential heart risks in people with sleep apnea.

"That has been associated with increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, so this increased sympathetic activity, levels of oxygen lowering. So these mechanisms can then place stress on the heart," she said.

According to Dr. Mehra, if you're not getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, it is placing you at increased risk for a number of conditions, including heart disease.

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