Why Sleep Is So Important to Your Health

A NEW STUDY has proven something that most health experts have suspected all along: having poor sleep habits significantly increases one’s risk for developing cardiovascular and other health problems.

Activities that would constitute bad sleep habits include:

  • Getting less than or more than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night,
  • Having an irregular sleep schedule, and
  • Excessive napping during the day.

A large percentage of people (around 35%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) sleep less than seven hours each night. And 4% sleep too much (10 or more hours every night).

The study, which was published in the American Heart Association Journal, is part of the growing body of research that has highlighted the importance of sleep for maintaining good health.


The study found that those who napped up to 30 minutes a day were 11% more likely to develop heart problems later on in life.

The risk goes even higher for those who like to take longer naps; if the naps lasted more than half an hour, the risk increases to 23%.

Conversely, the study found that people who never napped were the least likely to develop cardiovascular-related disease.

Length of your slumbers

The study also found that people who reported sleeping between seven and nine hours every night were the least likely to develop a cardiovascular-related disease.

Those who reported sleeping less than seven hours were 14% more likely to be afflicted with a cardiovascular-related problem, while those that slept more than 10 hours increased their risk by 10%.

People with insomnia and sleep apnea are at higher risk of not getting enoug sleep every night.

Irregular sleep patterns

The study found that people who did not go to sleep the same time every night, or got few hours one night or more the next, were more likely to develop health problems. The same held true for people who wake up in the middle of the night because they can’t sleep, putter around the house for a few hours, and then sleep more later.

Another study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that not sticking to a regular bedtime and wakeup schedule – and getting different amounts of sleep each night – can contribute to a number of health problems.

Irregular sleep pattern risks

  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • High blood sugar
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Mental health issues