The American Heart Association (AHA) has announced that sleep duration is now considered to be an essential component of heart and brain health. The AHA just released its revised guidelines and checklist for evaluating cardiovascular health, called ‘Life’s Essential 8,’ which was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal ‘Circulation’. The new checklist updates the former Life’s Simple 7, and added sleep as the 8th guideline.
In a release, the AHA stated that in addition to adding sleep as the eighth component to its heart-healthy categories, other updates for optimum cardiovascular health, now for anyone ages two and older, include a new guide to assess diet. Also included are the effects of secondhand smoke and vaping, the use of non- HDL (High-density lipoprotein) instead of total cholesterol to measure blood lipids, and the expansion of the blood sugar measure to include haemoglobin A1c, a key measure to assess type 2 diabetes risk. According to AHA President, Dr. Donald M. Lloyd- Jones, who led the new advisory group updates for the association, “The new metric of sleep duration reflects the latest research findings: sleep impacts overall health, and people who have healthier sleep patterns manage health factors such as weight, blood pressure or risk for type 2 diabetes more effectively.”