The American Heart Association (AHA) last month updated their cardiovascular health checklist to include eight key measures—adding sleep duration to the list of health and lifestyle factors that could help lower the risk for major health issues, including heart disease and stroke.
In 2010, AHA defined a list of health behaviors and factors that have been widely used to measure cardiovascular health. Last month, AHA updated the list, previously known as the "Life's Simple 7" questionnaire, to include sleep duration after 12 years of research determined sleep's vital role in heart health.
According to AHA, adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night to maintain optimal cardiovascular health. Children ages 5 and under should get between 10 and 16 hours of sleep, while children ages 6 to 12 require 9 to 12 hours. Teenagers ages 13 to 18 need between 8 and 10 hours each night.
"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," said AHA president Donald Lloyd-Jones.
"In addition, advances in ways to measure sleep, such as with wearable devices, now offer people the ability to reliably and routinely monitor their sleep habits at home," Lloyd-Jones added.
AHA's updated list, now called "Life's Essential 8," is divided into two major categories—health behaviors and health factors.
According to AHA, the health behaviors that measure cardiovascular health are:
The health factors that indicate optimal cardiovascular health are:
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