Your risk of heart attack is lower if your bedtime is consistent and sufficient. However, if you don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis or if you keep flip-flopping on your bedtime, you’re more likely to have an attack or develop cardiovascular disease on top of the traditional risk of CVD, according to a new Harvard University study.
It can be a simple as a 90-minute swing in either direction, said study author Tianyi Huang, ScD, MSc, an assistant professor of medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
What’s considered a regular sleep time?
It’s a means that it’s consistent with no more than a 30-minute difference in bedtime over seven nights, Huang states in the study, which was published on Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
You can’t underestimate the health boost that comes with getting 7 or 8 peaceful hours of rest each night. Proper sleep protects you from heart disease, diabetes and possibly chronic pain. People who get enough sleep have an easier time managing their weight, more energy and supposedly better sex lives.
Here’s how to create a cozier, more comfortable place to rest:
- Take stock. Step into your bedroom and view it through new eyes. Is it cluttered? Crowded with toys, workout equipment and other stuff that does not belong? Inhale. Do you smell gym socks? Then you have work to do. Make a few notes to keep track of what you need to tackle first.
- Make space. A bedroom should be an open, clean environment. Your bed, a dresser (without a million dusty trinkets on top), a nightstand and a comfortable chair if you have the room should do the trick. Get rid of piles of dusty papers, books and unnecessary furniture.
- Rate your mattress. Consumer Reports suggests you assess your mattress every seven to 10 years. Are you waking up achy? Are you rolling around at night to avoid lumps and valleys? If so, it’s time to go shopping. But here’s a temporary fix. Rotate your mattress so that the head is now the foot, now flip it. Try it every month or so until it’s replaced.
- Consider a color change. Soft, soothing colors and such as beige, peach, blue and other pastels are more sleep-friendly than bright colors, according to the Better Sleep Council.
- Try better bedding. Forget thread-count; consider the quality of the cotton and the way the sheets feel to your touch. High-thread count sheets can be scratchy if the fabric is wrong. And cotton is not a must. Indulge in something new: try satin, T-shirt sheets or flannel. Choose a pillow that matches your favorite sleep position.
- Go dark. Sunlight is a wonderful way to start the day, but make sure your shades completely darken your room at night.
- Banish the gadgets. Cell phones, tablets, computers, basically any backlit technology can interfere with your sleep. Instead, settle in each night with a good book — an old-school, low-tech model.
- Clear the air. Your immune system works hard at night to regulate itself and keep you healthy — all the more reason why your bedroom should be free of dust. Consider a HEPA filter if you have allergies. If your bedroom is dry, especially during the winter months, add a humidifier to your shopping lists. It will help you breathe easier and keep your skin soft and moist.
- Add beauty and warmth. Purchase a gorgeous throw pillow, a lush plant, a bundle of silk flowers or a piece of artwork. Bring in a pop of color or a gorgeous object that simply makes you smile. Combine your favorite essential oils with a little alcohol and water and create a scent for your bedroom sanctuary and enjoy.