The Link Between Insomnia and Heart Disease
Do you find yourself struggling to go to sleep at night? Do you spend countless hours lying awake at night while everyone else is fast asleep? We know how frustrating things can be, especially the difficulty of falling asleep or even staying asleep. Well, we’ve all been there…
We lie in bed at night feeling bothered, our mind is racing and we lie there tossing and turning trying to fall asleep. The more we stress about being sleepless at night the worse it gets for us, especially regarding our health. Making sure we get enough sleep and resting our bodies is essential for a healthy heart. Did you know that people who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk for heart disease? Regardless of their weight, age, gender, smoking and exercise habits, it is important to get enough good quality sleep.
Researchers know that sleep is vital to heart health, but getting a lack of sleep can cause disruptions in underlying health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, blood pressure, and inflammation. When you lie in bed at night, you start to notice every little thing going on around you from the sound of wheels turning on a car or truck, to the constant dripping of water falling down, and the tick-tocking of the clock on the wall. The question is – why do we have trouble falling asleep at night?
What’s really causing us to stay asleep? Could there be a link between our sleepless nights and our health? What should we do? Could our problem to stay asleep start affecting our health? In this article, we will learn how insomnia and heart disease are linked to having sleepless nights.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard for anyone to fall and stay asleep. The sleep disorder defined by night time and daytime symptoms. Insomnia symptoms include difficulties falling and staying asleep, diminished sense of well-being, compromised functioning such as difficulties with concentration and memory, fatigue, concerns and worries about sleep.
You may still feel tired when you wake up. Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life. Did you know that nearly one in ten adults in the United States suffers from insomnia?
For many people, it is important to realize that not everyone who has problems sleeping has insomnia. The word persistent is emphasized because many people occasionally experience disturbed sleep at night but their problem is transient.
Insomnia and Heart Disease
Researchers believe that insomnia is linked to heart disease in two different ways: directly, through physical changes and indirectly, through behavioral factors Physical changes include increased blood pressure, appetite, inflammation, and other bodily stress reactions. Common behavioral factors are low mood, low motivation, and cognitive difficulties that can negatively impact decision-making about healthy behaviors.
Some sleep disturbance is a normal part of life. For example, childcare, taking care of an acutely ill family member, and occasional stress-related insomnia is expected disturbances. Chronic sleep problems are those that occur most nights, or every night, for months to years.
Fortunately, insomnia is treatable. Sleep medications can be helpful, but mental and behavioral strategies are more long-lasting. First, identify your biggest problem: falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. Then, learn how to change your behaviors to maximize sleep, manage your thoughts and worries that interfere with sleep, and change your mindset about sleep. Behavioral sleep treatment can make you less vulnerable to the effects of poor sleep on the heart.
Here are some suggestions for managing insomnia and keeping your heart healthy:
Boost your consistency and stick to a regular wake time. Having a regular bedtime helps too, but a regular wake time is the most important. Make sure you avoid napping. Long naps can decrease sleep quality and increase nighttime wakefulness. If napping is necessary to help keep a regular wake time, nap for only 30 minutes about 7-9 hours after you wake up.
Break the link between not sleeping and being in bed. If you’re awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and do something quiet and soothing, such as reading or listening to quiet music. Build the link between sleepiness and being in bed, only return to bed when you feel sleepy again. If you think you feel sleepy and you return to bed – only to lie awake for another 20-30 minutes, – then get up again. Repeat this behavior until sleep takes hold.
VirtuSOM Testing Benefits
Many people find it difficult to sleep in new places, let alone covered in electrodes with someone watching from the next room. Your routine before bed is not interrupted so we are capturing a typical night. With a headband containing just 3 sensors on your forehead, VirtuSOM can validate your insomnia symptoms or reveal underlying causes.
No need to drive across town, miss work or hassle with your insurance company to see if an expensive procedure is covered. With VirtuSOM, the EEG device is delivered right to your door with complete instructions and a toll-free technical support line 24/7, should you need it. The next day, just drops everything in a FedEx box in a stamped, pre-paid priority mail box and wait 2-3 days for your doctor to get the report. Nothing could be easier!
These days, patients are responsible for more of the cost of their healthcare than ever before. It matters what procedures cost now! Whether it’s your portion as a co-pay, the full amount because you have a high deductible or the entire cost because your insurance doesn’t cover the procedure, many patients are searching for a more cost-effective solution. EEG is significantly lower than a facility-based titration study. In most cases, the outcome is the same.
Treatment for Insomnia
If you are diagnosed with insomnia, we recommend 6 weeks of Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT-I). CBT-I is a course that emphasizes mental and physical behavior modification for better sleep. CBT-I is the gold standard for insomnia treatment and studies show improvement in sleep rivaling various sleep medications without the risk of medication dependency which yields adverse side effects. CBT conditions you to break habits and behaviors that compromise restorative sleep which will ultimately produce a lasting effect on your sleep patterns holistically.