Getting Enough Sleep? Studies show 65% increase in heart disease

By HeartHawk Latest Reply 2012-01-02 21:33:37 -0600
Started 2011-04-23 19:07:10 -0500

Yet another long-term study confirms that poor sleeping habits can contribute to heart disease - in this case poor sleep added a 65% risk increase! The report can be found here:

In addition to quantity of sleep the study also determined that quality of sleep was important - you just can't lay in bed!

Let's take an informal poll. How many hours per night do you sleep? And what tricks and techniques do you use when occassional insomnia sets in. In short, what puts you to sleep nd keeps you there for a restful night?

Yes, it is often the simple things that makes us healthy. Here is your chance to chime in. How has YOUR sleep been? Maybe someone in our community has advice that can help!


29 replies

Ronp 2011-12-29 06:50:17 -0600 Report

When I was young, I could get to sleep with ease. Now, I have had to work at it. I have been taking melatonin each evening with my other meds. This has helped. Also, I have been in the habit of having some graham crackers and milk before I turn in as well. I might put on an old movie that I know well with the sleep-timer on to make sure it serves its purpose and then is off. (Audio books work quite well). I will take a refillable water bottle with me so that I do not have to get up if I wake thirsty. Over the counter or prescription meds. simply do not work for me. Of course the wife has to work with me-though she has the habit of not setting the sleep-timer. She will be sleeping soundly; however, I am brought awake by some loud commercial or whatever-grrrrr! All in all, I sleep best with the above regimine and my ever faithful cpap.

HeartHawk 2011-12-29 22:18:30 -0600 Report


Thanks for the benefit of your experience. I hav emany of the same problesm although I am the one blamed for forgetting to sewt the TV sleep timer, lol!

What does work fo rme when I get desperate is 1/4mg of Xanax (Alprazolam)> It works better (for me) than Lunesta or all those other sleep drugs.


tankmom 2011-12-27 22:27:34 -0600 Report

Over the last couple of years my sleep thru the night has been becoming shorter, which is 5 to 7 hours, normally with at least one trip to the washroom during that time. I sometimes am very tired when I go to be and I toss and turn so much I finally get up get a drink of water, work a word puzzle or read a few pages of whatever book I am reading. I also pray the rosary, because it never fails I fall asleep trying to say one(LOL)

HeartHawk 2011-12-27 22:57:23 -0600 Report


Hey, you can't go wrong with that strategy - but get the 7 hours not the 5. Besides, it beats sleeping pills! I have been through sleep studies with no physical problems but perhaps a few mental problems, lol!

Seriously, depression can fool with sleep as well. Frankly, routine exercise is what works best for me. Melatonin is a supplment that many people swear by as well.


tankmom 2011-12-28 18:55:48 -0600 Report

Thanks HH. I also must add I am a person that snores. I have never been tested for the sleep apnea. My husband complains in a loving way and I sometimes wake myself up especially if I fall asleep sitting up. I remember the way my mother snored. I don't recall hearing my Dad EVER snore, only my mom and she would rock the walls and I tend to have more maternal traits in me.

LabRat90 2011-05-13 12:34:57 -0500 Report

Now I'm getting a full 8 hours of sleep a night. Before I lost weight, I had sleep apnea and was on the CPAP. It didn't really help very much because it was so uncomfortable to sleep in. Before I go to bed, I have to relax fully and every thing in the house has to be right (kids home and in bed, dogs taken care of, kitchen cleaned). I use my kindle to read or play a game before I go to bed. I have Restoril to take if I need but I haven't needed that in a while.

Rightbundlebranchblock 2011-04-28 22:51:57 -0500 Report

I'm finding that I'm getting no more than 5 hours of sleep at night. I'm on a variety of meds, and usually go to sleep quickly. I've had a sleep study done which ruled out sleep apnea. Music via CD's is quite helpful to me when I can't sleep. (As an aside, I used my portable CD player and headphones when I had both of my knee replacement surgeries done. It helped a lot in conjunction with the pain meds, and also during some of the passive motion machine treatments.)

Jarb 2011-12-27 09:10:37 -0600 Report

I'm in the same boat with getting only around 5-6 hours of sleep and that's only because I take Ambien CR sleep med at night. That's the only time I get rest from the constant aches and pains, plus burning and tingling from head to foot that no one seems to be able to give me a diagnosis for and thus no treatment. I keep seeing my various doctors and asking for tests(within reason) to rule out certain medical conditions and so far nothing major(thankfully) but still no help with my condition. It has left me just waiting for the days to end so that I can take my sleep med and get a rest from the problems. It's very frustrating, even though I know there are people out there worse off than myself, it still doesn't help my situation. Any suggestions from you or anyone else would be greatly appreciated; even though I've probably already tried most of them.

pattroyka58 2011-12-27 15:55:02 -0600 Report

I used to take Ambien, but then there was that flap with Heath Ledger, and I can't find a local doctor to prescribe it. I, too have the whole body burning, tingling, and night sweats. Do you have elevated WBC too? I've been dealing with this for 2 years now. I even tried not going to bed for one night, but I just felt lousy all day and evening, and STILL couldn't fall asleep before 5 am. Lately if I don't go to bed until 6 am or so I can pretty much fall asleep without too much trouble, but then I sleep 'til 4 or 5 pm. It's not fun, but its tolerable. Soon, though, I'll be starting a 7 am - 2 pm job, but it's beyond me how I'm going to get in the routine for it.

Jarb 2011-12-28 09:47:42 -0600 Report

No I don't have elevated WBC (I assume you mean white blood cell count?). My PCP keeps approving my Ambien CR prescription renewals because she knows that if i don't get any sleep at all during the night it adds to my stress which as we all know is not good for our physical bodies either. I just hope that my insurance plan continues to cover it without any problems. I do hate having to take something to sleep, but for me I want and need my sleep and that's the only thing that has helped over the years of trial and error with otc's, warm milk, chamomile tea, istening to relaxing CD's etc.

HeartHawk 2011-04-29 23:35:36 -0500 Report


You need to get more sleep, but, then again, so do I. Perhaps talk to your doc about prescribing something for occasional imsomnia. I did and am glad I did!


LadyJacquelyn 2012-01-02 03:56:40 -0600 Report

If I get any sleep at night It is 2 to 3 hours. Maybe a couple of hours durning the day.

HeartHawk 2012-01-02 21:33:37 -0600 Report


You should address this with your doc. 7-8 hours are needed for optimum heart health. I have lot's of trouble too. Stress seems to be the culprit. Exercise and Xanax work best for me.


Perplexed 2011-04-23 22:07:00 -0500 Report

Do a google search on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
Do you snore?
You might want to give some consideration to having a consultation w/a sleep specialist.
Have you ever heard of UARS?
How about OSA?
Have you given any thought to silent reflux as a cause or contributor?
Do you have GERD?

HeartHawk 2011-04-24 23:01:24 -0500 Report


Yes, all potential sources of a sleep disorder. You can take the Epworth test here to determine if you may have a problem.

Perplexed asked some good questions. Anyone out there with UARS (Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome), OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)? All of these can wake you up repeatedly, without your conscious knowledge, and rob you of the sleep you need.


Judy560 2011-04-25 00:33:34 -0500 Report

I actually wake myself up. But then again I have sleep apnea according to my doctor.

Perplexed 2011-04-25 08:26:05 -0500 Report

And are you TREATING the sleep apnea? CPAP is THE "gold standard". What therapy or treatment are you doing for your sleep apnea?

If you're about to start CPAP therapy for OSA and haven't gotten your equipment yet let me know. I can help w/advice on getting the best equipment as most local durable medical equipment providers will try to pawn off a bottom of the barrel entry level PAP when your insurance will pay for a fully data capable PAP.

You ARE aware of the cardiac damage untreated sleep apnea can cause???

Judy560 2011-04-26 18:08:11 -0500 Report

Not doing anything for it but I'm in a study for insomnia. What are the risk? The doctor didn't say anything about the sleep apnea. I use Kaiser Permanenta do they cover it?

Perplexed 2011-04-27 07:05:51 -0500 Report

Untreated sleep apnea is an underlying cause for high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes, heart attack, … the list is long. Sleep apnea is a cessation of breathing for more than 10 seconds at a time thru out the night, hypopneas are a reduction in breathing for more than 10 seconds at a time thru out the night. Insufficient oxygen in your blood robs your bodily organs of the oxygen they need to function properly so they have to work harder and they wear out sooner. That is a simple explanation but the easiest to grasp.

You have me a bit confused: you said that you have sleep apnea according to your doctor in your earlier post and in the above post you say you are in a study for insomnia but the doctor didn't say anything about sleep apnea.

The gold standard for detecting and Dx'ing sleep apnea is an in-lab sleep study where wires are attached to you similar to an EKG except more wires over more area, you spend the night in the sleep lab sleeping whilst a technician monitors your sleep. They monitor brain waves, eye movements, chest, abdomen and leg movements, and your breathing. They can tell from these wires when you are sleeping, what stage of sleep you are in, how well you are breathing, if you are breathing, when you stop breathing or when your breathing is reduced. If it is determined you have sleep apnea, they may wake you up and give you a mask and let you sleep the rest of the night w/a CPAP or they mask schedule you to come back for a second in-lab overnight sleep study called a titration study where they will have you sleep w/mask and CPAP to determine what level of air pressure you will need to keep your airway unobstructed during your sleep and eliminate or greatly reduce the number of apnea and hypopneas.

More and more they are doing at-home sleep studies w/specific devices to determine whether you have sleep apnea or not and if it is determined that you do then they give you an auto-titrating CPAP to use at home to determine what air pressure you need to eliminate or greatly reduce your apneas and hypopneas.

I think I've read that Kaiser is switching from the in-lab studies to the at-home studies but I wouldn't swear on that.

HeartHawk 2011-04-27 00:50:25 -0500 Report


Have the study providers set you up for a sleep study (they hook a bunch of wires to your head while you sleep so you would know it if they did). If you passed the sleep study you probably to not have sleep apnea.

LOL, I had one but didn't sleep much because of all the wires and grease on my head. But, no sleep apnea!


Judy560 2011-04-28 15:38:42 -0500 Report

Yeah Kaiser is doing the home studies. Their having me monitoring my sleep habits.
You speak of wires on the head, I use to have seizures so I know how to wear the wires. I'm still sleep deprived and I'm irritable, obnoxious, and can be very silly when I'm like this. So my doctor could be wrong about the sleep apnea interesting.

HeartHawk 2011-04-28 23:50:16 -0500 Report


Met with a functional medicine doc today. Noticed I have chronic nasal congestion that flared in the evening but only on one side. Since I sleep on my stomach I sometimes closed the open nostril and got no air through the congested one and interrupted sleep! Now I need to answer why I get the congestion at night!


Narasan 2011-05-01 23:45:29 -0500 Report

Judy560 is right, it could be dust but not just on your pillow, on your sheets, covers even on the mattress. Not to forget dressers and curtains. I know as I have to keep my room clean of dust or I become so badly congested that I end up with sinus infections.

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