The world’s number one killer today is cardiovascular disease, but you can change that. WHF say that with just a few small changes to our lives, we can reduce the risks of heart disease and stroke that we face. We can also improve the quality of our lives and set a good example for our children. Say to yourself, “What can I do right now to look after my heart?”; and say to your loved ones and people all around the world, “What can I do right now to look after your heart?”
Get Better Sleep
People who cannot sleep properly every night find that the following day, they cannot function well and do not have enough energy to get through normal tasks. The repercussions of a lack of proper sleep, though, exceed this state of just being cross. Research would say that being continuously sleep deprived can have grave effects on your heart health.
Many people endure a continuous state of sleeplessness. Some of these people skip the eight-hour snooze maybe because they need to work, or maybe because they choose to participate in recreational or social activities.
The European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich, Germany, recently heard a study presentation that showed that you need to get better sleep to reduce your risk of developing coronary artery disease, which is fatal in many cases. Abnormal sleeping patterns – sleep routines that deviate from the recommended nightly pattern – can lead to other various cardiovascular risks. These include high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
According to Dr. Susan Redline, the Peter C. Farrell Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, short sleep or sleep that lasts only for less than six hours a night is particularly harmful to the health of your heart. What sleep deprivation can do is increase the blood levels of stress hormones and other substances that imply an infection. This in turn leads to cardiovascular disease. Only one single night of sleep deprivation can disturb your body system.
On the other extreme, being asleep for more than the normal period can also have adverse effects on the heart. Researchers discovered that people who normally sleep for nine hours and beyond every night would develop an increased calcium buildup in their heart artery walls and develop stiffness in their leg arteries; as compared to those who slept the recommended eight-hours.
Another factor that associates heart disease and sleep deprivation is obesity. Dr. Redline attests that there is dependable evidence that there is a compelling connection between lack of sleep and weight gain. This is because short sleepers tend to binge on snacks and eat more food in general than those who have had enough sleep. Also, the brain reward systems, including those that deal with energy intake, judgment, and food choice, are jeopardized by insufficient sleep. In the same light, more studies reveal that people who haven’t had enough sleep prefer sweet and fatty foods over healthier options like vegetables. Further, short sleepers are commonly affected by fatigue, and this discourages them from exercising, which is necessary to combat undue weight gain.
High blood pressure, which can sometimes be linked back to insomnia, is the primary cause for cardiovascular disease. Suffered by one third of the population at a certain point in their lives, insomnia prevents people from falling or staying asleep. Some people with insomnia experience a chronic condition of hyperarousal, a mental state identified by anxiety and feeling on edge. This condition can further aggravate blood pressure problems.
Another prevailing sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea. This is distinguished as a repeating pattern where a person momentarily stops breathing many times a night as the tongue or throat tissue blocks the airway. Sleep apnea is commonly linked with obesity, and this heightens the chance for people to be affected by high blood pressure problems, and suffer a heart attack or stroke.
Get Involved for Heart Health
The World Health Federation has a few suggestions on how you can support WHD 2018 “For my heart, for your heart … for all our hearts, all around the world”.
- Create a custom poster and social media image for your use. You can choose from two posters on the WHF website that come in different languages. Add your own photos and text, and you might get a chance to get into their Heart Hero Awards 2018.
- Download WHF campaign resources to support their activities. Several toolkits are available, including those designed for members and healthcare professionals, businesses and organisations, and worldwide supporters.
- Use social media to spread the word with the WHF Digital Toolkit that contains everything needed to promote their campaign messages within your networks.
- Get posters, logos, the leaflet, graphics and more to post and share.
- Reach out to buildings and landmarks around the world to encourage them to light up red as a sign that they promote the heart health campaign. If you have a contact who is willing or you want WHF to reach out to them, please email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.