Is there a link between sleep and heart health? If you’re not getting enough shut-eye, you might be raising your risk for heart disease. And, if you have a heart problem, you might find it difficult to get the rest you need.\nFind out how healthy sleep boosts heart health and learn some healthy sleep tips below.\nWhat Is Healthy Sleep?\nMuch like a healthy diet and regular physical activity, sleep plays a big part in your overall health. Sleep allows your brain to form new pathways to help you learn, supports healthy organ, muscle, and tissue function, and helps regulate your hormones.\nWhile everyone is different, the National Sleep Foundation recommends between seven and nine hours of sleep per night for most adults. And although most people will toss and turn sometimes, regular lack of sleep \u2014 less than six hours each night \u2014 can raise your risk for serious health problems, including:\n\nAtherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries\nDiabetes\nHeart disease\nHigh blood pressure\nKidney disease\nObesity\n\nRELATED: 10 Reasons You’re Getting Poor Sleep\nHow Are Sleep and Heart Health Linked?\nHealthy sleep can help you control some risk factors for heart disease, like your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and weight. When you sleep, your heart rate and blood pressure are lower, which reduces the amount of stress on your heart and blood vessels. Sleep also helps your body balance your blood sugar levels and the hormones that affect your appetite.\nWithout proper sleep, your blood sugar levels can rise, increasing your risk for diabetes. Improper sleep can also raise the levels of certain inflammatory substances in your body, which put stress on your heart and blood vessels, and can affect your appetite, making you feel hungrier and causing you to overeat.\nAnd, according to the American Heart Association, people with sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that disrupts breathing during sleep, have a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.\nCan a Heart Problem Keep Me Awake?\nSome heart problems can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep, including:\n\nAngina, or chest pain that happens when your heart muscle can’t get enough oxygen\nHeart rhythm problems like atrial fibrillation\nHeart failure, which can cause fluid to build up in your lungs\n\nIf you’ve been diagnosed with one of these conditions, your doctor can help you find ways to manage your sleep. And, if you have any signs of a heart problem, like chest pain, a fast or fluttering heartbeat, fatigue, dizziness, or shortness of breath, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.\nWhat Can I Do to Get Better Sleep?\nSome people may be able to improve their sleep by adopting healthier sleep habits, including:\n\nGetting regular physical activity. The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, like brisk walking, running, bicycling, dancing, or swimming, at least three times per week.\nGoing easy on the caffeine, especially in the evening. It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals before bedtime.\nEstablishing a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.\nCreating a bedtime routine. Try taking a warm bath or drinking a cup of caffeine-free tea to help you relax, and turn off your television and other electronic devices .\nMaking sure your room is cool, quiet, and dark.\n\nIf you have trouble sleeping on a regular basis, talk to your doctor.\nTo learn more, visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484).