Our country has been honoring American Heart Month in February since President Lyndon Johnson made the first proclamation in 1964. Educational material is everywhere, but when is the last time you checked in with your heart health?
The American Heart Association is a fantastic resource for anyone seeking guidance. Since 2010, the association has been focusing on what it called “Life’s Simple Seven,” which is a list of health behaviors and factors that affect your heart health. They are:
- Eating better
- Being more active
- Stopping smoke
- Managing weight
- Controlling cholesterol
- Managing your blood sugar
- Managing your blood pressure
They’re all great measures to focus on. I, for one, need to practice more of what I preach and do better on some of these recommendations for a healthier life. We’ll discuss many of these inside this edition.
However, did you know that last summer, the association added another factor and renamed the list “Life’s Essential Eight”?
The latest addition: Getting enough sleep.
According to the AHA, the move to add another measure wasn’t taken lightly, and the final decision came on the heels of 12 years of research.
The association says both too much and too little sleep are associated with heart disease and that most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
The benefits of sleep are numerous; it facilitates the healing and repair of cells, tissues, and blood vessels; strengthens your immune system; decreases the risk of chronic disease; improves brain function; and improves your mood and energy.
You can learn more about how to get better sleep at bit.ly/3XksKF4.