Heart disease: The ‘essential’ activity for ‘ideal’ heart health – It's not exercise


Previously called Life’s Simple 7, the new list is now dubbed Life’s Essential 8, with its newest addition being sleep. Yes, you’ve read that right. One of the “essential” activities for keeping your heart healthy couldn’t be simpler.

Previously, the seven-item scoring tool included the obvious factors, such as diet, weight, physical activity and more.

However, the new sleep metric now suggests that a healthy slumber is also important for your overall and cardiovascular health.

What’s more, this activity doesn’t involve doing much, just relaxing.

“Sleep duration is now considered an essential component for ideal heart and brain health,” the research, published in the journal Circulation, shares.

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However, the research explains that the length of your sleep plays an important role.

By measuring the average sleeping hours per night, the research team found the sweet spot.

The “ideal” length of slumber is considered to be between seven and nine hours for adults.

When it comes to children between the ages of five and younger, they should aim for 10 to 16 hours per 24 hours.

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Those aged between six and 12 years should get between nine and 12 hours.

And teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 should aim for eight to 10.

American Heart Association President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, said: “The new metric of sleep duration reflects the latest research findings: sleep impacts overall health, and people who have healthier sleep patterns manage health factors such as weight, blood pressure or risk for type 2 diabetes more effectively.

“In addition, advances in ways to measure sleep, such as with wearable devices, now offer people the ability to reliably and routinely monitor their sleep habits at home.”

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 Lloyd-Jones added: “Life’s Essential 8 is a major step forward in our ability to identify when cardiovascular health can be preserved and when it is sub-optimal. 

“It should energise efforts to improve cardiovascular health for all people and at every life stage.”

Heart disease is a major cause of death in both the US and UK. According to British Heart Foundation, heart and circulatory diseases claim more than 160,000 deaths each year.

Fortunately, various research suggests that more than 80 percent of all cardiovascular events may be prevented by a healthy lifestyle. And sleep is just one factor for a healthy heart.

The full list of things to consider includes:

  • Diet 
  • Physical activity 
  • Nicotine exposure 
  • Sleep duration 
  • Body mass index 
  • Blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) 
  • Blood glucose 
  • Blood pressure.



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