Sleep Added to 'Life's Simple 7'

American Heart Association

The American Heart Association (AHA ) just published updates to ‘Life’s Simple 7 ‘, a formula for assessing heart health. They have added sleep, thereby now making it ‘Life’s Simple 8™?’ for those age 2 and up.  In this blog, I will recap changes to the previously known ‘Life’s Simple 7™?’.

No surprise, they upped the importance of diet specifying the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet as being especially important for heart health. Another no-brainer, as far as I’m concerned, is qualifying exposure to nicotine specifically vaping and secondhand smoke. Also, the metrics favored the importance of blood lipids and glucose levels. Unchanged are criteria of Physical activity, BMI (body size), and blood pressure. The intent is to identify essential conditions – 8 – relevant to heart health. Using a weighted tool of these 8 distinct factors, a cardiovascular metric emerges ranging from 0 to 100 with scores below 50 indicating low cardiovascular health, those between 50 and 75 moderate cardiovascular health, and those over 75 indicating high cardiovascular health. Sadly only 20% of US adults have a high cardiovascular health standing.  60% are estimated to have a moderate lifestyle in cardiovascular health. This data is based on the National Health and Nutrition examination survey (2013 and 2018). You can follow this link and learn your percentile from this online tool. FYI: one needs to create a login and password on the AHA site.  Site questions include your answers to diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, sleep health (new), body mass index, blood lipids, blood glucose (blood sugar levels), and blood pressure.

Adding sleep as a component for good heart health is the big news, I feel.  Optimally sleeping is from 7 to 9 hours daily for adults. Children’s sleep points will vary on achieving age-appropriate optimal ranges.

Many of us use wearable technology to generate information regarding our diet, exercise, and sleep. This information is hopefully going to be used in the future. Interestingly self-reported sleep doesn’t always correlate with the objectives of sleep duration measured by these devices. I am sure many wearable tech studies are underway presently. Perhaps those studies will be a good subject for a blog post in the future.