How a good night's sleep might help your heart

Research we're watching

Published: May, 2019

Sleep has long been known to help protect you against heart disease, and researchers now think they know at least one reason why. A study published online February 13 by the journal Nature looked at how sleep duration and quality relates to the buildup of damaging plaque in the arteries.

Harvard Medical School researchers found that a lack of good sleep boosts the body's production of inflammatory white blood cells that earlier research has linked to fatty buildup in the arteries. This could help explain why sleep problems can lead to arterial buildup. Poor sleep is linked not only to clogged arteries, but also to a host of chronic health conditions, such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes — all good reasons to make sure you get your z's.

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