Health, longevity and peak performance are all connected to heart health, which in turn is driven by sound sleep.
Our hearts are remarkable organs in that right from our birth – to be more precise, much before our birth – to our ultimate death, our hearts never stop beating, never stop working.
Though death has been redefined more scientifically in recent years as brain death, the undeniable fact is that it is the heart that relentlessly supplies blood and nutrients to our brain too, thereby keeping it alive. How then does our heart rest?
We know that like every machine man has invented, every organ in the human body needs rest. Unlike any other machine or muscle or body system, our heart rests by not stopping but slowing down. This slower rate is medically known as the resting heart rate.
Our hearts need to be in this resting pace for a significant percentage of our daily 24 hours. And sleep provides this the most. Within a few minutes into sleep, our heart slows down into the resting heart rate.
But how efficiently this happens depends on several factors. For instance, it depends on the health of our heart muscle itself.
In fact, much of the exercises that we do, especially the aerobic or cardio programs, are designed to make our heart muscles super-efficient so that it can pump more blood per beat, which allows it to slow down naturally when awake or asleep.
Adequate sleep gives our hearts optimum time to be in the resting heart rate, and multiple studies have proved that too little sleep of less than 6 hours or too long sleep of more than 8 hours are behind many metabolic disorders including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases etc.
But the quality of sleep is also most important for heart health. This is because in the initial light sleep and the subsequent deep sleep, the heart beats in the resting heart rate or even 20-30% lower than that. But in the next stage of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, often called as dreaming sleep, the heart rate can vary dramatically depending on what we dream about.
This was recently explained by Dr. Lawrence Epstein, a top sleep expert at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Says Dr. Epstein, “Your heart rate can vary quite a bit during REM sleep because it reflects the activity level occurring in your dream. If your dream is scary or involves activity such as running, then your heart rate rises as if you were awake.”
This is why our hearts are also craving for high quality sleep or sound sleep. For more in-depth information about how sleep affects our health, longevity and peak performance, refer to the new book ‘The Making of a Superhuman’ books.viegyan.com by wellness evangelist and biohacker Sajeev Nair.
If stress or other sleep disorders are keeping you awake, Vieroots Wellness Solutions has an Ayurvedic formulation to help, called ‘Relax’ that addresses sleep issues holistically. https://thoughtbiotics.vieroots.com/relax/