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Sleeping Well: Vital to Heart Health

Sleeping Well: Vital to Heart Health

By Andrea Bartels CNP NNCP RNT
Registered Nutritional Therapist

09 Feb 2024

Sleeping Well: Vital to Heart Health


Finding out you have cardiovascular disease is enough to keep you up at night---but did you know that not sleeping well for any reason could elevate your risk of heart attack and stroke?  That’s what a prospective cohort study of over 60,000 Chinese individuals published in 2018 found: short sleep duration and poor sleep quality were both associated with risk of developing cardiovascular disease and the risk of dying from it. In fact, research suggests that not sleeping well or long enough could also increase your risk factors for cardiovascular disease: 

Hypertension: Having high blood pressure gradually damages the artery walls, increasing the formation of arterial plaques and narrowing the arteries in a condition called atherosclerosis. This disease elevates the risk of heart attack and stroke.  When we are resting for long periods, such as during sleep, blood pressure drops around 10 to 20 percent. But if we’re tossing and turning in fitful sleep, it doesn’t have a chance to come down. This is important because nighttime blood pressure has shown to be a better predictor of heart attack and stroke than daytime hypertension. It may explain why poor sleep has been linked by several studies to preclinical atherosclerosis and higher rate of death among heart disease patients. 

Diabetes Type 2: Although researchers don’t know the exact reason why, getting enough sleep improves ability to manage blood glucose levels---but both sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep each reverses these effects. This is important information for those with pre-diabetes and diabetes alike because it can make the difference between becoming a heart disease patient at an earlier age and developing diabetic complications like eye and nerve damage, for example. 

Obesity and Sleep Apnea: You’re probably aware that obesity dramatically increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and its complications, but there’s more.  Obesity itself increases risk of sleeping problems like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)-- where interruptions in breathing reduce blood levels of oxygen. Between 60 and 90 percent of adults with OSA are overweight. This is concerning as the use of caffeine (which increases blood pressure) and high-calorie foods in attempt to alleviate daytime fatigue can perpetuate the cycle of overeating, obesity because inadequate sleep lessens our control over hunger/appetite. 

Heart-Healthy Sleep Tips 

Here are some tips that could improve your sleep and your cardiovascular health at the same time: 

Note: If you have been diagnosed with any form of cardiovascular disease, please check in with your primary health care practitioner about any planned changes to your lifestyle. 

  • Include relaxation in your bedtime prep routine. Mindfulness-based stress reduction, meditation or gentle yin yoga stretches in which gentle stretches are held for a longer period of time while breathing deeply each offer benefits to the cardiovascular system. They lowers blood pressure and heart rate, focus the mind and create a sense of relaxation. 
  • Consider taking supplementary magnesium in combination with other heart-supportive nutrients. Magnesium insufficiency can play a role in sleeping difficulties, so maintaining adequate levels is important to anyone with trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Low magnesium levels can magnify hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), chest pain, arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, and reduce prognosis after heart attack.  

Magnesium isn’t present in significant quantities in most foods, so it can be tough to obtain your daily requirements from food alone.  The easiest way to get this heart-essential mineral is to use a supplement.  For comprehensive cardiovascular support, there’s Pure Lab’s Magnesium Glycinate + Taurine + CoQ10 formulation. This is a synergistic trio of research-supported nutrients for cardiovascular health. The addition of l-taurine for the heart muscle and the biologically active form of CoEnzyme Q10 (ubiquinol) provide extra support for the heart muscle whose demands for these nutrients are greater than any other tissue in the body.  Pure Lab’s Magnesium Glycinate + Taurine + CoQ10 capsules are formulated to be taken two at a time, twice daily. 

For those who prefer, Pure Lab’s Magnesium Glycinate formula is also available on its own in capsules as well as an unsweetened unflavoured powder.   If you’re looking for a ‘fun’ way to take magnesium, consider Pure Lab’s  Magnesium Glycinate Raspberry-Lemon Powder Mix. This naturally flavoured, naturally coloured and naturally sweetened formula can be added to water or a smoothie and provides 200 milligrams of a highly absorbable form of magnesium per dose. Like all of Pure Lab’s Magnesium Glycinate products, it was formulated with better bowel tolerance in mind. 

  • Get enough exercise earlier in the day. Chances are good that you’ll feel more relaxed by day’s end on the days you’ve exerted yourself. You’ll burn calories, manage your blood sugar and appetite better and lower your blood pressure. Just be sure to exercise early enough in the day so that any stimulating cortisol released during a high-intensity workout will be reduced by the time you’re turning in for the night. 
  • Improve your body’s resilience against the harmful effects of stress with adaptogens. What’s an adaptogen? It’s a non-essential but beneficial plant or fungi that helps the body maintain or re-establish balance when used on an ongoing basis. Pure Lab’s AdaptaPure contains standardized extracts of the botanical adaptogens rhodiola and ashwagandha---traditionally used to promote physical and mental stamina. Rhodiola rosea and ashwagandha have both been demonstrated to lower cortisol response, which in effect may inhibit the spiking of blood pressure. AdaptaPure also contains the amino acid l-theanine to support relaxation-- without sedation-- during stressful times. 
  • Consider using a melatonin supplement. Studies repeatedly show that melatonin supplementation can be an effective way to induce sleep, increase sleep duration and improve sleep quality. Although melatonin is naturally secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, things like aging, exposure to light and electromagnetic energy sources can reduce levels to below what’s needed to make us sleepy. Pure Lab’s Magnesium Glycinate + Melatonin offers 3 milligram of melatonin per capsule. Pure Lab’s Slow Release Melatonin 10 milligram capsule is designed to release melatonin gradually, for benefits all night long. Melatonin should be taken either 1 hour before bedtime by those who have trouble falling asleep, or right at bedtime by those who have trouble staying asleep. 

For more sleep support ideas, be sure to check out our Sleep Webinar! 


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