The Heart Association Adds “Sleep” to Ideal Cardiovascular Health

The Heart Association Adds “Sleep” to Ideal Cardiovascular Health
  • The American Heart Association has listed seven modifiable components that are key to ideal cardiovascular health.
  • Sleep duration joins those original seven metrics in a revised scoring tool, now called Life’s Essential 8.
  • The update is much more than just adding sleep, said AHA President Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, who led the expert panel that wrote the advisory.

The American Heart Association has said that there are seven modifiable components (maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, being physically active, eat a healthy diet and control your blood pressurecholesterol, and blood sugar) that are key to ideal cardiovascular health.

Those components, called Life’s Simple 7, they became a common way for doctors and patients to rate and discuss heart and brain health. It has also been a key research tool, used in more than 2,500 scientific articles.

Sleep duration joins those seven original metrics in a revised scoring toolnow called Life’s Essential 8which was published Wednesday as an AHA presidential ad in the magazine Circulation.

Upgrading is much more than adding sleep

The update is much more than just adding sleep, said AHA President Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, who led the expert panel that wrote the advisory.

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The new score incorporates 12 years of research and improves your assessment of diet, exercise and more.

“We hope that this is actually an empowering moment, a moment of optimism for people to think positively about their health,” said Lloyd-Jones, a cardiologist, epidemiologist and chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern Feinberg University. Chicago Medical College. “And this is a good way to measure it today, monitor it over time, and focus on ways to maintain and improve it.”

Adults should average seven to nine hours of sleep a night, the advisory says. For children, the amount varies by age.

Science has shown us how sleep is an integral part of cardiovascular health

Lloyd-Jones, who led the creation of the seven original categories in 2010, said the importance of sleep was clear even then. But it was hard to agree on how to rate it, because sleep information wasn’t collected in large national databases.

“Now it is,” he said, and “science has shown us how sleep is integral to cardiovascular health.”

The notice states that both both excessive and insufficient sleep are associated with heart disease and that poor sleep health is linked to poor psychological health, a major driver of heart disease.

“And of course sleep affects the other seven metrics as well,” Lloyd-Jones said.

Cheryl Anderson, Dean of the University of California San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Sciencescalled Life’s Essential 8 a “big deal” for both health professionals and people who want to understand their cardiovascular health.

Anderson, who co-wrote the notice, said the update is “A very good recognition of how science has changed and our ability to adapt accordingly.”

The reviews introduce a 100-point measure of heart health, which can be taken online at www.heart.org/lifes8.