Sleep duration matters for heart health, according to new recommendations

Jun 29, 2022, 4:16 PM
The American Heart Association added sleep duration to its cardiovascular health checklist. It's a ...
The American Heart Association added sleep duration to its cardiovascular health checklist. It's a part of "Life's Essential 8," a questionnaire that measures eight key areas to determine a person's cardiovascular health. (File photo)
(File photo)

(CNN) — If you needed another reason to get enough sleep, here it is: It may help your heart health.

The American Heart Association added sleep duration to its cardiovascular health checklist. It’s a part of “Life’s Essential 8,” a questionnaire that measures eight key areas to determine a person’s cardiovascular health.

The updated list was published Wednesday in Circulation, AHA’s peer-reviewed journal, and replaced the association’s “Life’s Simple 7” questionnaire, which had been used since 2010.

In addition to sleep, the new list retained the original categories: diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, body mass index, blood lipids, blood glucose, and blood pressure.

Sleep duration made the list after researchers examined new scientific findings over the past decade that found sleep played an important role in heart health, according to Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, the AHA’s chief medical officer for prevention.

“Folks not getting enough sleep have a higher likelihood of things like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes,” Sanchez said.

What counts as healthy sleep?

Adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, said pulmonary critical care and sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a clinical associate professor at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

However, people need to have quality sleep to reap the benefits, said Dasgupta, who is also a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

A person goes through multiple sleep cycles made up of non-REM and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, Dasgupta said. There are three stages of non-REM sleep, and in the third one you enter deep sleep, which restores the body both mentally and physically, he explained.

If you keep waking up, it will prevent you from going to those deeper stages, Dasgupta said. This can lead to higher blood pressure and increased blood sugar levels, which is associated with diabetes and obesity, he said. Those conditions contribute to lower heart health and increase the risk of developing heart failure, Dasgupta said.

Amended guidance

Multiple other categories were amended, including diet, nicotine exposure, blood lipids, and blood glucose.

The AHA has come up with a new way to assess how well people are eating, Sanchez said.

“We are recommending a 16-item questionnaire that can be used at regular intervals to assess healthy dietary habits that focuses on weekly amounts of food,” he said.

Nicotine exposure centered around smoking tobacco, but now it includes exposure to secondhand smoke as well as vaping, Sanchez said.

Blood lipids will be measured using non-HDL cholesterol rather than total cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein is known as the “good” cholesterol, and high levels can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Measuring blood glucose levels expanded to include hemoglobin A1c levels, which measures a person’s blood sugar levels over the previous three months, according to the CDC. The test is often used for people managing their diabetes as well as diagnosing prediabetes and diabetes.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


Exibit shows Utah's air was a concern as far back as the 1880s....
Jed Boal

Exhibit: Concerns about Utah’s air quality go back to Brigham Young

An online exhibit details Utah’s unique air pollution problem going back to the 1880s when Utahns referred to the winter pollution as “smoke evil” or the “smoke nuisance”. 
1 day ago
Bags of small pills are lined up....
Mike Anderson

Fentanyl use on the rise in Box Elder County

Police in Box Elder County say fentanyl is hitting their community hard as overdoses and deaths have gone up in recent months.
1 day ago
Global Pharma Healthcare recalled Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops, distributed by EzriCare and...
Janelle Chavez

Two additional deaths linked to bacteria in recalled eye drops, CDC says

A rare strain of bacteria found in recalled eye drops has been linked to dozens of infections, as well as cases of vision loss and surgical removal of eyes.
1 day ago
Associated Press

Oklahoma court OK’s abortion to preserve mother’s life

A divided Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a portion of the state’s near total ban on abortion, ruling women have a right to abortion when pregnancy risks their health, not just in a medical emergency.
2 days ago
Leukocytoclastic vasculitis, an inflammatory reaction in the blood vessels, is shown. It's also kno...
Monica Fish, Wealth of Geeks via AP

Don’t let the dreaded ‘Disney rash’ derail your vacation: Experts explain what it is, how to avoid it

What happens when Americans visit a Disney theme park and take 20,000 steps or more a day in hot, humid weather? Many get "Disney rash."
2 days ago
Jason Peck with his sons...
Ayanna Likens

How an outpatient program helped Salt Lake man overcome substance abuse

A Salt Lake man is sharing his story of overcoming opioid use and how Intermountain Health's outpatient program helped him.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Sleep duration matters for heart health, according to new recommendations