For years, the American Heart Association (AHA) has promoted its Simple 7™ for optimal heart health. These factors have served as an effective guide for us, as physicians, to encourage our patients to practice healthy behaviors. Recently, the AHA went one step further. It expanded this list to include a new component – sleep.

By adding sleep to the mix, the AHA has created its new Essential 8™. Getting better sleep is now part of this list to lower a patient’s risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. The new essentials that impact heart health include:

  1. Eating a healthy diet.
  2. Getting enough exercise.
  3. Maintaining a healthy weight.
  4. Keeping cholesterol low.
  5. Maintaining low blood sugar.
  6. Reducing blood pressure.
  7. Avoiding smoking or vaping.
  8. Getting enough sleep.

Learn More

To learn more about the multi-disciplinary services offered by the physicians at the
Florence Wormald Heart & Vascular Institute at
St. Elizabeth, go to or
call (859) 287-3045.

Nationwide, approximately 70 million Americans have consistent sleep problems. That means nearly one in three adults are sleep-deprived. A night or two of poor sleep isn’t a big problem. However, if it persists, the negative effects can add up and have a long-term impact.

To be healthy, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Children need even more — up to 16 hours for children under age 5 to 10 hours for 18-year-olds.

Poor sleep has been linked to many problems, including mental illness, increased risk of injury, lower quality of life, and chronic diseases. It is also well known that adults who get less than seven hours of sleep nightly face increased cardiovascular risks.

It’s important that your patients understand the value of getting good sleep. I work to explain to my patients the critical impact sleep has on heart health, including:

Fatigue and lack of energy can also, over time, lead to higher stress levels, poorer food choices and limit a person’s ability to engage in physical activity – which is much needed for good cardiovascular health.