FILE - A teenage boy sleeps through most of the late morning on Jan. 13, 2018, in his home in Brooklyn, New York.
(Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/ Corbis via Getty Images) Getting quality sleep is important for a multitude of reasons, and growing research underscores its specific importance for heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In June, the American Heart Association added sleep duration to its checklist of factors for cardiovascular health.The list, called "Life’s Essential 8," was updated from the previous "Life’s Simple 7" list first published in 2010.
Sleep, as well as a healthy diet, participation in physical activity, avoidance of nicotine, healthy weight, and healthy levels of blood lipids, blood glucose, and blood pressure, round out the eight "essential" categories for optimal heart health. This week, a team at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health published a study about the recent change in the Journal of the American Heart Association.The study consisted of about 2,000 middle-aged to older adults in an ongoing U.S. study of cardiovascular disease and related risk factors, called the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
They participated in a detailed sleep exam by filling out sleep questionnaires, participating in an overnight sleep study, and wearing a device that measured their sleep for seven days. The research team noted how sleeping seven hours or more — but less than nine hours each night — was considered indicative of ideal sleep health in the study. For adults, between seven and nine hours a night is recommended by the U.S.