Taking care of your heart means getting the right kind of rest


Most people understand that getting a good night of sleep helps you feel more energized and alert the next day, but many people don’t realize that poor sleep can also lead to serious help problems, including cardiovascular disease. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a night but more than one in three don’t get the recommended amount of sleep.

Not getting enough sleep for one night, or even two, might not cause a problem. But people (even children and adolescents) who continue to have poor sleep are more likely to develop health conditions including:

Heart attack

High blood pressure



Type 2 Diabetes




Here are some common sleep conditions that may lead to cardiovascular disease:

Narcolepsy -Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles. People with narcolepsy may feel rested after waking, but then feel very sleepy throughout much of the day. Many people with narcolepsy also experience  interrupted sleep that can involve waking up frequently during the night.

Sleep Apnea -Sleep Apnea is a condition that happens when your airway gets blocked repeatedly during sleep, causing you to stop breathing for short amounts of time. Sleep apnea can be caused by certain health problems, such as obesity and heart failure. This can cause you to not have a restful sleep and can lead to serious consequences.

Insomnia -Insomnia is when you have trouble falling sleep, staying asleep, or both. As many as one in two adults experiences short-term insomnia at some point, and 1 in 10 may have long-lasting insomnia. Insomnia is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.


Additional Resources:

Sleep and CVD Discussion guide

Narcolepsy Fact Sheet

How Does Sleep Affect your Heart






Articles about Sleep:

The Pros and Cons of napping: “If you’re napping because it helps you get through the day, that’s probably a good thing,” Grandner said. “But if you’re napping because you just can’t stay awake, that’s a sign that there’s some underlying health issue. You’re either not getting enough sleep at night or your sleep quality could be very poor.” Read the full article HERE

Get Good Quality Sleep: A lack of sleep can do more than leave you yawning; it can harm your health. People who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. Read the full article HERE

CV dangers of not enough sleep in menopausal women: “We know that poor, particularly short sleep has been associated with CVD risk, including a 50% increase in coronary heart disease mortality,” Thurston said. “It all begs the question: What is going on during the menopause transition? This is a time of poor sleep and vascular vulnerability.” Read the full article HERE

CPAP helps reduce risk of heart disease: A report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that continuous positive airway pressure treatment at night helped to lower daytime resting heart rates in those who were prediabetics with obstructive sleep apnea, reducing their risk of cardiovascular disease.  Read the full article HERE

Restful Sleep Could Help Ward Off Heart Failure: Researchers found that of over 400,000 adults, those with the healthiest sleep patterns were 42% less likely to develop heart failure over 10 years, versus people with the least healthy habits. Those “healthy” sleepers reported five things: Getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night, no snoring, rarely having trouble falling or staying asleep, no daytime grogginess, and being a “morning” person.  Read the full article HERE.

Is Lack of Sleep Worse than Smoking:  We all know smoking is more than just a nasty habit, but new studies indicate that there might be a greater risk to your health: Lack of sleep. Most of us are sleeping less than we should be (and less than we used to be). And if you’re a smoker? Odds are you are sleeping even less. Read the full article HERE.


Patient Organizations for information and support:

Project Sleep
Wake Up Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy Network
Hypersomnia Foundation
American Sleep Apnea Association


Mended Hearts gratefully acknowledges support from Jazz Pharmaceuticals