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Tired Of Being Tired? New Research Finds A Regular Sleep Schedule Helps Your Heart

We’ve all heard about the many studies that highlight the importance of getting eight hours of sleep at night. Not enough can lead to health problems, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dysfunction in your immune system. Some experts go as far as to say that optimal sleep is even more critical than nutrition and exercise. The Harvard Business Review reports on findings that indicate a lack of sleep can make you a worse leader as it breeds impulsivity, reduces creativity, and clouds decision-making abilities.

The golden rule? — Get eight hours of sleep.

Yes. But there’s more.

Just this morning, Medical News Today reports on new research that shows our sleep schedules have radical ramifications on our health. The study led by Jessica Lunsford-Avery, Ph.D. from Duke University Medical School, suggests that our sleep schedules — from the time we hit the pillow to when we jump out of bed— affect our cardiovascular health and metabolism. Participants in the study had no history of sleep disorders, but those with irregular sleep patterns had a higher body mass index as well as higher blood pressure and blood sugar. It doesn’t stop there. These people were also more likely to have a stroke or heart attack than people with regular sleep schedules, while they had a higher risk for depression and stress, as well.

The bottom line? Cultivating a more regular snoozing pattern could lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and strokes (your heart will thank you!)

So, why do we have such a hard time sticking to a healthy sleeping routine? Lindsay Kellner, Senior Wellness & Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen shares some common reasons people don’t prioritize their sleep. Among them: what she calls “the sleepless hero.” We all have that person inside of us who wants to do everything, which often means that sleep takes a back seat.

Take Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, for example. Recently, he told Business Insider that he works about 120 hours a week and is getting far less than seven hours of sleep a night. Sleep enthusiast Arianna Huffington responded with a letter to Musk highlighting that lack of sleep could lead to cognitive dysfunction.

Sleep deprivation is not trendy.

You might be reading this and wondering how can I get some more zzz’s and stick to a schedule? The Mayo Clinic recommends winding down around the same time every night and setting your alarm for the same time every morning. This way, your body can get into a rhythm. Evenon the weekends, try to keep your sleep cycle consistent give or take an hour.

If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, Deborah E. Sewitch Ph.D., advises on how to make your bedroom an oasis—keep it bedroom dark, quiet, and on the cooler side. Her top tip: If you can’t sleep, leave the room and read or make some tea before you return. That’s how your space can stay zen.

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