As we continue bringing awareness to a healthy heart, our focus shifts to a crucial yet often overlooked factor: sleep. Just like the “Essential 8” components outlined by the American Heart Association, adequate and quality sleep plays avital role in maintaining cardiovascular well-being (Figure 1) (1). 

Figure 1: Life’s Essential 8: healthy diet, participation in physical activity, healthy levels of blood lipids, glucose and blood pressure, healthy weight, avoidance of nicotine, and healthy sleep. Adopted from (1).

Let’s explore the connection between sleep and heart health, understanding how sleep duration, quality, and specific disorders can impact cardiovascular outcomes. In pursuit of optimal heart health, it’s essential to consider the often-neglected aspect of a good night’s sleep.

Sleep is recognized as a fundamental component of human biology, impacting various physiological systems. Inadequate sleep duration and quality are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and poor cardiovascular health (1). In terms of sleep duration, less than 7 hours per night and sleeping for more than 9 hours per night have been linked to adverse cardiovascular outcomes (2). Additionally, several sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea and chronic insomnia, have also been identified as risk factors for cardiovascular disease (2).

Maintaining a regular sleep duration between 7 to 9 hours per night is optimal for heart health.  

Sleep quality is more difficult to quantify. According to experts in the field, sleep quality refers to the perceived effectiveness or satisfaction with an individual’s sleep, including factors such as duration, continuity, and restorative nature. Assessing an individual’s sleep duration and perception of sleep quality can provide valuable insights into their sleep habits and potential risks related to CVD (2).

Wearable technologies may provide a more objective assessment or longer-term data about habitual patterns than questionnaires (2). We use data from wearables to track sleeping patterns. 

Assessing and enhancing sleep quality, including factors like satisfaction and duration, provides valuable insights into sleep habits and may reduce potential cardiovascular risks.  

How do you achieve high-quality sleep every night?

While there are a lot of tips on the internet on how to improve your sleep, we want to share some tips on how to optimize your sleep (2), (3). The tips listed below can help you establish good “sleep hygiene”- a term referring to a combination of sleep habits that can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Maintaining good sleep hygiene may help youimprove your overall sleep health.  

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule:
    Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations. Consistency is your sleep’s best friend.
  • Early bedtime:
    Set a bedtime that generously allows for 7-8 hours of restorative sleep. Embrace the benefits that a whole night’s sleep offers.
  • Listen to your body’s lullaby:
    Only tuck yourself in when the sweet embrace of sleep beckons. If it doesn’t come within 20 minutes, step out of bed and engage in a tranquil, non-stimulating activity. 
  • Digital detox for dreamers:
    Resist the allure of screens when sleep eludes you. Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Instead, opt for serene, dimly lit activities.
  • Create a soothing bedtime routine:
    Establish a bedtime ritual that whispers tranquility. Let it guide you into the night, whether it’s a warm bath, gentle stretches, or a chapter of a book.
  • Designate your bed:
    Let your bed be a sacred space for sleep and intimacy. Minimize its association with work, stress, or anything that disrupts the sanctity of slumber. 
  • Create a calm environment:
    Keep the room cool, quiet, and inviting – a space where stress evaporates.
  • Dim the lights for drowsiness:
    Limit exposure to dazzling lights as evening approaches. Dim the lights and let your body acknowledge the gradual descent into the soothing darkness of sleep. 
  • Nibble on nighttime nourishment:
    Avoid heavy meals before bedtime. If hunger strikes, opt for a light, wholesome snack that nourishes without burdening your digestive system. 
  • Exercise for energized slumber:
    Infuse your days with regular exercise and fuel your body with a balanced diet. Physical well-being fuels the foundation for restful nights. 
  • Caffeine Curfew for calm nights:
    Steer clear of caffeine in the afternoon or evening. Let your evenings be caffeine-free, paving the way for a serene transition to sleep.
  • Sip smartly:
    Minimize fluid intake before bedtime to ensure uninterrupted sleep. Hydrate earlier in the day, easing your body into nighttime tranquility.
  • Say no to nightcaps:
    Resist the allure of alcohol before bedtime. While it may induce drowsiness, it can disrupt the natural sleep cycle, diminishing the quality of your rest.

Strategies from a recent Science Advisory From the American Heart Association adapted from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2), (3)

In conclusion, recognizing the importance of sleep in the broader spectrum of cardiovascular health aligns with the holistic approach advocated by the “Essential 8” components. Both inadequate duration and poor quality of sleep are linked to increased risks of cardiovascular disease. Striking a balance with a regular sleep duration of 7 to 9 hours is optimal for heart well-being. 

Silviya Demerzhan, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer, Nordic Executive Medicine
Medical review by: Dr. Mahir Vazda MD


At NEM, we acknowledge the significance of quality sleep and its impact on overall health. Our personalized approach involves assessing individual sleep habits, leveraging wearables to track patterns, and providing tailored guidance to enhance sleep quality. As we guide our clients toward improved sleep hygiene, we emphasize the importance of consistent sleep schedules, relaxing bedtime routines, and creating optimal sleep environments. We aim to contribute to our clients’ overall well-being and cardiovascular health by integrating these strategies.



  1. Lloyd-Jones DM, Allen NB, Anderson CAM, Black T, Brewer LC, Foraker RE, et al. Life’s Essential 8: Updating and Enhancing the American Heart Association’s Construct of Cardiovascular Health: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2022 Aug 2;146(5):e18–43. 
  2. Kris-Etherton PM, Petersen KS, Després JP, Anderson CAM, Deedwania P, Furie KL, et al. Strategies for Promotion of a Healthy Lifestyle in Clinical Settings: Pillars of Ideal Cardiovascular Health: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2021 Dec 14;144(24):e495–514. 
  3. Wilbanks J. Sleep Education. [cited 2024 Jan 11]. Healthy Sleep Habits. Available from: