New study finds lack of sleep linked to heart disease

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When it comes to our health, one thing we tend to overlook is the impact that our sleeping pattern can have on our physical health. Not only does getting a good night’s sleep make you feel better, but it also enhances your creativity, productivity, memory, and alertness. And now, thanks to the results of a new study released just days ago, we know that sleeping less than 6 hours a night is linked to heart disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association of actigraphy-measured sleep parameters, in an asymptomatic middle-aged population.

The study was carried out on 3,974 healthy men and women, aged around 46 years old. The duration and quality of their sleep was measured over seven nights. All individuals part of the study underwent physical examinations, as well as three-dimensional ultrasounds (“an imaging system that evaluates blood flow through the blood vessels”). The researchers controlled fasting glucose, cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes (among other things). The results of the study found that individuals who slept less than 6 hours a night were up to 27% more likely to be in the top third for the amount of plaque in their arteries.

The paper was published after it went through medical editing. The study also discovered that inflammation in the blood was higher in the individuals who got less sleep than their counterparts in the study. Additionally, those who moved the most during their sleep had higher amounts of plaque than the individuals who had a comfortable, sound sleep. Up until now, this kind of early disease detection in healthy people has only been carried out through autopsy. Lesser sleeping times and fragmented sleeping patterns are both now officially associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

This study comes at a time where we have more chaotic sleeping patterns than ever. We lead increasingly busy lives, and sometimes getting a good night’s sleep can be immensely difficult. Getting a good night’s sleep has never been so important, but sometimes it is also easier said than done. So, what can be done to help with inconsistent or unhealthy sleeping patterns? Thankfully, there is an answer (in fact, there are many, and all should be explored if necessary and possible).

The power of our senses – especially scent – can play a significant role in our mood levels and our bodies’ relationship with things like anxiety, stress, and even blood pressure. Researchers have found that using essential oils blends featuring hints of lavender, for example, provide proven relief for a restless sleeping pattern. In fact, multiple studies have indicated that a blend of relaxing, sleep-focused essential oils can and does have more of a positive effect on fractured sleep and quality of life than acupressure does.

Seemingly a simple scent, essential oils are so much more than an appealing scent to have throughout a living space or common area. Essential oils have a definitive impact on our bodies, and can help us to relax and drift into peaceful sleep at night, helping with bridging that gap between a good night’s sleep and higher cardiovascular disease risk, closing that gap, and helping one to instil a healthier sleeping pattern.

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