Health Advice



Poor sleep habits can lead to heart disease

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In 1964, 17-year-old Randy Gardner went 11 days without sleeping. That's the outer edge of what a person can endure without inflicting lasting damage. In contrast, it turns out you assuredly inflict lasting harm if you repeatedly have lousy sleep patterns -- can't fall asleep, wake up and can't get back to sleep easily, wake up too early or have sleep apnea.

A study published in PLOS Biology shows that disrupted sleep patterns trigger bodywide inflammation that leads to overt cardiovascular disease. Researchers measured what was going on in the bloodstream of 1,500 folks, and found those with disrupted sleep had higher counts of white blood cells that drive inflammatory pathways. Erratic sleepers also have higher levels of coronary artery calcium, which contributes to clogged blood vessels. Those plaque-congested vessels are vulnerable to increased inflammation, which can cause plaque rupture, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

So if you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep, get help from knowledgeable sleep specialists, like those at the Cleveland Clinic's or Columbia University's sleep disorders centers. The most effective treatments for disrupted sleep include:

-- Using cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and using restriction therapy and stimulus control therapy to improve sleep quality and quantity.

-- Making sure to get 30+ minutes of aerobic exercise daily.

-- Establishing a good sleep routine: Hit the hay at the same time nightly; make sure the bedroom is cool, dark and quiet; detach from digital devices an hour before bed.


You'll be protecting your heart while you improve your mood, cognition and relationships.


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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