Keeping a consistent routine, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising frequently, and planning time to relax can all contribute to building a healthy sleep schedule for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
People with heart conditions such as HCM may find it difficult to get enough sleep. HCM also increases the risk of sleep apnea, a condition that can disrupt sleep and increase the risk of cardiovascular complications.
A healthy sleep schedule can help support a person’s heart health and may help reduce the risks of complications from HCM.
This article discusses eight tips for building a sleep schedule with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, choosing sleep aids, and practicing healthy sleeping habits.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults sleep for
Getting enough good quality sleep is important for maintaining heart health. According to the AHA, a lack of quality sleep can affect heart health in various ways.
- Increasing inflammation: Not getting enough sleep may lead to inflammation in the body, which scientists have linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Increasing other risk factors: Insufficient sleep can lead to several cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.
- Affecting mental health: Insufficient sleep may contribute to mental health conditions, such as depression, which can affect heart health.
- Affecting lifestyle factors: A lack of sleep can make it more difficult to maintain healthy lifestyle factors that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Without consistent, quality sleep, a person may experience higher stress levels and find it more difficult to exercise and eat a balanced, nutritious diet.
According to the
A person can aim for a consistent sleep schedule by:
- setting a bedtime that will allow sufficient sleep time
- going to bed at the same time each night, even if they do not feel tired
- waking up at the same time each morning, including on weekends
- avoiding napping during the day
People can adjust these recommendations to suit their circumstances if, for example, they work nighttime shifts.
Following a wind-down routine before bed may help a person train themselves to relax and become ready for sleep. A relaxing routine may include:
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a person can make the following adjustments to improve their sleeping environment:
- ensuring the room is quiet
- adjusting the temperature, if possible, so the room is cool
- turning off lights and all electronic devices to make the room as dark as possible
- making sure the bed is comfortable
Low intensity exercise may be suitable for people with HCM.
However, a person with HCM should discuss exercise with a doctor to ensure their level of physical activity is safe. People with HCM symptoms especially need to avoid moderate to intense exercise.
Good “sleep hygiene” refers to healthy habits that can help improve a person’s sleep.
Healthy sleep habits include avoiding:
A person should avoid eating large meals close to bedtime or foods that may trigger heartburn, such as spicy or acidic foods.
Eating too close to bedtime may increase a person’s likelihood of waking through the night and disrupt their sleep quality.
As well as interfering with sleep more generally, large meals can cause postprandial hypotension — a drop in blood pressure after eating — and worsen HCM symptoms.
Learn more about heart-healthy diets that can decrease the risk of cardiovascular complications.
- Medication: Drugs to treat sleep disorders may be habit-forming and can cause side effects. They include nonbenzodiazepine receptor agonists such as zolpidem (Ambien),orexin receptor antagonists including suvorexant (Belsomra), and melatonin receptor agonists such as ramelteon (Rozerem).
- Devices: Someone with sleep apnea may require an oral device that holds the tongue in place to keep the airway open or a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. A CPAP device includes a face mask and uses gentle air pressure to keep the airways open during sleep.
- Therapy: A mental health professional may use light therapy to help adjust melatonin production and reset a person’s sleep-wake cycle. They may also use cognitive behavioral therapy to help establish suitable sleeping habits and reduce stress and anxiety.
A healthy sleep schedule may help improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications from HCM.
A person’s sleep schedule can vary based on an individual’s circumstances. However, a sleep schedule for someone with HCM may look like this:
|Wake up with the help of an alarm each day, including weekends and vacations.
|Eat a heart-healthy breakfast that will maintain energy throughout the morning, such as oats or granola with chia seeds, flaxseeds, nuts, fruit, and low fat or plant-based milk.
|Go about daily tasks. If opting for a caffeinated drink, green tea can be a heart-healthy option that can improve focus and metabolism.
|11:30 a.m. to midday
|Go for a pre-lunchtime walk outside. Or, engage in some other low- to mid -intensity exercise at a level a doctor says is safe. Make sure to take time to rest afterward.
|Have a healthy lunch, such as quinoa, brown rice, vegetables, and fish. Take time to rest after lunch with some meditation or easy yoga. Avoid napping.
|Go about daily tasks. Avoid caffeine, including caffeinated sodas, past this time. It generally takes
|Limit exposure to bright lights and maintain a dim, comfortable atmosphere. Engage in a relaxing evening activity, such as chatting with family or friends, watching a film, or reading a book. Avoid alcohol and high sugar foods.
|Begin a wind-down routine, such as a relaxing bath followed by meditation. Turn off all electronic devices and avoid screen time.
|Arrange any necessary sleep aids, such as sleep medication or devices.
|Go to bed.
A person may wish to use this example as a template, making adjustments where necessary.
People with HCM and other heart conditions should aim to get enough quality sleep. Getting 7–9 hours of sleep may help reduce the risk of complications from heart disease.
There are several steps a person can take to help improve the amount and quality of sleep they get. These include having a regular sleep schedule, practicing good sleep hygiene, avoiding caffeine and large meals before bed, and getting enough physical exercise.
If a person has a sleep disorder or finds it very difficult to get enough quality sleep, a doctor may be able to treat them with medication, therapy, or devices like a CPAP machine.