On the occasion of the 43rd edition of Heart Week, the Belgian Society of Cardiology has issued a series of pointers highlighting the importance of good sleeping habits for cardiovascular health.
The cardiologists note that, while cholesterol and tobacco should not be overlooked as aggravating factors, the consequences of poor sleep are no less numerous.
Poor sleep increases appetite and the risk of weight gain, adds to the risk of high blood pressure, promotes the onset of glucose intolerance, and fosters the occurrence or recurrence of cardiac arrhythmia, the Society notes.
The experts also warn against sleep apnea, noting that four out of five persons with this condition go undiagnosed and untreated.
Risk factors further include age and being overweight, add the cardiologists, who note that chronic insomnia - difficulty sleeping at least three nights a week for more than three months - also has long-term cardiovascular consequences.
In addition to a regular sleep pattern, the specialists recommend, in particular, avoiding extreme temperatures in the bedroom (ideal temperatures range between 16°C and 19°C) and putting aside one's to-do list in the evening.
Last but not least, stop looking at a screen at least one hour before bedtime, they stress.