While getting enough sleep may seem like a luxury, it’s now an official American Heart Association recommendation for a healthy heart. After 12 years of research, the AHA recently expanded its list of heart healthy lifestyle practices by adding sleep duration to its recommendations.
Are you and your family getting enough sleep for a healthy heart?
According to research, for best heart health, the amount of sleep needed each night varies by age:
- Adults 7 – 9 hours
- Ages 13 to 18 8 – 10 hours
- Ages 6 to 12 9 – 12 hours
- Ages 5 and under 10 – 16 hours
Getting enough sleep also promotes healing, improves brain function and lowers risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes—the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S.
Sleep is just part of the whole picture
Life’s Essential 8™ is the AHA’s updated checklist for not only better heart health, but lifelong good health.
Essential 8™ recommendations include:
- Diet: Focus on veggies, fruit, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats—learn more.
- Physical activity: Find out more about getting at least 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week.
- Nicotine exposure: Every time you smoke, vape or use tobacco, nicotine can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure—learn the risks of smoking/inhaling nicotine and how to stop.
- Sleep: Get tips for getting 7-9 hours for adults and more for children.
- Weight: Get advice for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Cholesterol: Learn what you can do to control your body’s cholesterol.
- Blood sugar: High blood sugar can damage more than your heart over time—kidneys, eyes and nerves are also harmed. Find out how to prevent or manage it.
- Blood pressure: Learn how to keep a healthy range.
If you need help getting enough sleep or with achieving any of the other Essential 8™ recommendations, talk to your primary care provider for advice. Looking for a primary care provider or wonder why it’s important to have one? Learn more. Want to meet with a sleep specialist? Our Pulmonary & Sleep Disorder Clinic has specialists to care for you.
Are you sleep savvy? Take our quiz and find out!