NEW YORK: Proper sleep is now considered an essential component for ideal heart and brain health, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
The Association, this week, added sleep duration to its cardiovascular health score -- known as Life's Essential 8 that consists of diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally.
An estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2019, representing 32 per cent of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85 per cent were due to heart attack and stroke, according to the World Health Organisation.
Over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries.
Various research studies over the past two decades indicate more than 80 per cent of all cardiovascular events may be prevented by healthy lifestyle and management of known cardiovascular risk factors.
"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 Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, President at AHA.
"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," added Lloyd-Jones, also a Professor of Heart Research at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
"The idea of optimal cardiovascular health is important because it gives people positive goals to work toward at any stage of life," said Lloyd-Jones.
Each component of Life's Essential 8, which is assessed by the My Life Check tool, has an updated scoring system ranging from 0 to 100 points. The overall cardiovascular health score from 0 to 100 points is the average of the scores for each of the 8 health measures.
Overall scores below 50 indicate "poor" cardiovascular health, and 50-79 is considered "moderate" cardiovascular health. Scores of 80 and above indicate "high" cardiovascular health, according to the advisory, published in the journal Circulation.
"Life's Essential 8 is a major step forward in our ability to identify when cardiovascular health can be preserved and when it is sub-optimal. It should energise efforts to improve cardiovascular health for all people and at every life stage," Lloyd-Jones said.