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Friday April 19, 2024

Quantity or quality; what you should prefer in sleep? Here's what expert suggests

"Once you have better quality then we try to work on the quantity of sleep possible," expert says

By Web Desk
February 20, 2024
A representational image shows a person sleeping. — Pexels
A representational image shows a person sleeping. — Pexels 

Sleep is crucial for heart health but it is important to consider the quality of the sleep over quantity of time, according to an expert, who said the disruption may lead to increased intake of fatty food and sugary drinks.

A behavioral sleep psychologist and clinical associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine Dr. Shelby Harris while speaking with CBS News said: "Poor quality sleep really can influence our heart health."

The body's balance of ghrelin and leptin, hormones that regulate hunger, is also disrupted by poor sleep, leading to increased consumption of high-sugar and high-fat foods, said Dr Harris.

Sleep disorders such as insomnia are associated with heart.

To improve the quality of sleep, experts suggest that one should limit caffeine and alcohol consumption. They also suggest reducing the time of using mobile phones before they sleep.

"Once you have better quality then we try to work on the quantity of sleep possible," Harris said.

"For some people, I might have them go to bed later and then I might slowly have them go to bed earlier over time as opposed to that shifting back and forth. Because that can create a lot of problems for people as well," she said.

Harris said that sleeping pills and aids are not ideal for most people, however, she considered cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia an alternative solution to taking medicines.

She said that before prescribing pills to a person, she first carries out therapy sessions up to eight.

"You work on not just the hygiene but you work on the timing of sleep. … We work on thoughts about sleep, a lot of people put pressure on themselves to sleep and they worry about what's going to happen if they don't sleep and so we work on that aspect," she said.

Speaking about the food choices, Dr Harris noted that it has importance on a good night's sleep, stating: “People should avoid consuming large or heavy meals, such as a big dinner, before going to bed.”

She recommended having a light meal that may include protein and carbohydrates. "That's a really good mix to help you throughout the night so you don't wake up hungry, which a lot of people do as well," added Dr Harris.