Top 10 Ways to Avoid a Heart Attack

Heart Tip 9: Sleep

Thirty-minute power naps have been shown to benefit the heart.
Thirty-minute power naps have been shown to benefit the heart.
Dae Seung Seo/Getty Images

This tip is one most people can probably get behind. In today's hectic world, it seems like some of our basic needs aren't often met -- sleep is one of them. Although it varies for everyone, doctors suggest that you should get about 8 hours of sleep per night. Almost 60 percent of adults have problems sleeping, and only 37 percent get that recommended amount per night [source: National Sleep Foundation]. Not only does being tired all day hurt your performance, but research shows that too little or too much sleep can have some poor effects on your blood pressure and ticker, specifically.

­A 10-year-long Harvard University study tracked the sleep habits and health of more than 70,000 women between the ages of 45 and 65 who had no previous heart trouble. At the end of the 10-year period, 934 of these women suffered from coronary heart disease and 271 died from it. The 5 percent of the women who slept less than five hours per night were nearly 40 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease than women who slept an average of eight hours. On the flip side, the women who slept more than nine hours per night were 37 percent more likely to have heart trouble. Studies have returned similar results in men. So the key is to try and stay within that eight hour range, and you're doing your heart a favor.