Sleep Light Warns Health Affects 0:48 (CNN) — If you needed another reason to get enough sleep, here it goes: It could help keep your heart healthy. The American Heart Association (AHA) added sleep duration to its cardiovascular health checklist. This is part of the “Life’s Essential 8” questionnaire, which measures eight key areas to determine a person’s cardiovascular health. The updated list was published Wednesday in the AHA’s peer-reviewed academic journal, Circulation, and replaces the association’s “Life’s Simple 7” questionnaire, which had been in use since 2010. In addition to sleep, the new list keeps the original categories: diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, body mass index, blood lipids, blood glucose level and blood pressure. Sleep duration made the list after researchers examined new scientific findings from the past decade that found sleep plays an important role in heart health, according to Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, the AHA’s chief preventive physician. “People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have things like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes,” Sanchez said. What counts as healthy sleep? Adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, said Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a pulmonary critical care and sleep specialist, an associate clinical professor at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles However, people need to get quality sleep to reap the benefits, Dasgupta said. , who is also a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. According to Dasgupta, a person goes through multiple sleep cycles made up of non-REM and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. There are three stages of non-REM sleep, and in the third is entering deep sleep, which restores the body both mentally and physically, he explained. If you wake up frequently, it will prevent you from going into those deeper stages, Dasgupta said. This can lead to higher blood pressure and increased blood sugar levels, which are associated with diabetes and obesity, he said. These conditions contribute to reduced heart health and increase the risk of developing heart failure, Dasgupta said. Modified Recommendations Many other categories have been modified, such as diet, nicotine exposure, blood lipids, and blood glucose. The AHA came up with a new way to assess the quality of people’s diets, Sánchez said. “We are recommending a 16-item questionnaire that can be used at regular intervals to assess healthy dietary habits that focus on weekly amounts of food,” he said. Nicotine exposure used to focus on tobacco smoking, but now includes exposure to secondhand smoke as well as vaping, Sanchez said. Blood lipids will be measured using non-HDL cholesterol instead of total cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein is known as the “good” cholesterol, and high levels can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). its acronym in English). The measurement of blood glucose levels has been 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 to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes.
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