When it comes to sleep, you should think of it as a nutrient.

That’s because just about every bodily function depends on getting appropriate amounts of quality sleep.

In fact, the effects of sleep deprivation can be observed causing harm to the body almost immediately—far faster than deprivation of any vitamin or mineral.

Two studies in 2020 are highlighting the dramatic health impact that lack of sleep has on the heart. Heart failure affects more than 26 million people, and the two studies add to the emerging evidence that sleep problems play a role in the development of this leading killer.

Study 1 details

A new study, published just this month, found that adults with the healthiest sleep patterns had a 42% lower risk of heart failure compared to adults with unhealthy sleep patterns.

The risk reduction was irrespective of other risk factors

“Healthy sleep patterns” were considered to be: Rising during moring hours; sleeping 7-8 hours a day; not having regular insomnia; not experiencing excessive snoring; and not reporting daytime sleepiness.

The observational study accumulated data from 408,802 participants in the UK Biobank. Participants were aged 37 to 73 at the time of recruitment (2006-2010).

Incidence of heart failure was collected until April 1, 2019. Researchers recorded 5,221 cases of heart failure during a median follow-up of 10 years.

In addition to determining a 42% overall reduction in the risk of heart failure, researchers also found the risk of heart failure was independently associated and could be broken down as follows:

8% lower in early risers
12% lower in those who slept 7 to 8 hours daily
17% lower in those who did not have frequent insomnia
34% lower in those reporting no daytime sleepiness

The research was published in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation in November.

Study 2 details

An earlier study, published in March 2020, determined irregular sleep patterns doubled the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in older adults.

The study, conducted over a five-year peiod, examined nearly two thousand participants ages 45 to 84 years old in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

MESA is an ongoing study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

During the five-year follow-up period of the study, 111 participants developed CVD events. This included heart attack, stroke, or dying from and CVD-related cause.

From this information the researchers determined that participants with the most irregular sleep duration or timing had more than double the risk of developing a CVD event.

According to the researchers, the results of the study indicate that sleep schedules should join high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes as a serious risk factor for heart disease.

The study was published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Help achieving restorative sleep

In addition to lifestyle changes and sleep therapy techniques, many nutrients are known to support healthy sleep patterns.

These include valerian, chamomile flower, lemon balm, passion flower, hops and the amino acid tryptophan.

All of these nutrients can be found in Optimal REM Sleep from Optimal Health Systems.

Optimal REM Sleep is unique among herbal sleep products: Rather than helping you fall asleep for a single night, it provides the nutrients you need to attain REM sleep consistently over time.

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Sources: Circulation (AHAJournals.org); Science Daily; National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI); EverydayHealth.com; JACC.org.