The Impact of Sleep on Heart Health Is Officially Recognized in an Updated Heart Health Measurement System

Sleep duration is now considered an important measure of heart health and has been added to an American scoring system that measures the components of optimal cardiovascular health.

The American Heart Association recently released ‘Life’s Essential 8™’ – newly updated measures that have been developed to identify factors that impact heart health.

Among the new additions is sleep duration, with American Heart Association President Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones saying, “The new measure of sleep duration reflects the latest research findings: sleep has a impact on overall health, and people who have healthier sleep habits manage health factors such as weight, blood pressure, or risk of type 2 diabetes more effectively.

“Additionally, advances in ways to measure sleep, such as with wearable devices, now provide people with the ability to reliably and regularly monitor their sleep patterns at home.”

Other updates include:

  • New guidelines on diet assessment;
  • Consideration of exposure to second-hand smoke and vaping;
  • Use non-HDL cholesterol as a measure instead of total cholesterol;
  • Include hemoglobin A1c in blood glucose measurements, as it is an important measure of risk for type 2 diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America and around the world. Life’s Essential 8™ is designed to identify behaviors and health factors that can lead to optimal heart and brain health.

The latest version of the measurement system includes more than 2,400 scientific articles on the subject and 12 years of research. Previous studies have shown that more than 80% of cardiovascular events could be prevented through lifestyle changes and the management of risk factors for cardiovascular problems.

Dr Lloyd-Jones said: “The idea of ​​optimal cardiovascular health is important because it gives people positive goals to achieve at any stage of life.

“Given the evolution of research, it was important to address some limitations of the original measures, particularly in how they were applied to people from diverse racial and ethnic populations.

“Life’s Essential 8™ is a major advance in our ability to identify when cardiovascular health can be preserved and when it is suboptimal. This should energize efforts to improve cardiovascular health for everyone and at every stage of life.

The study is published in the journal Circulation.