Speed Up Recovery with Proper Sleep

Have you recently experienced a health setback? A traumatic event like a heart attack can interfere with your body’s natural rhythms and requires recovery time to get back on track. In a recent study conducted at the University of Guelph, it was found that patients recovering from a heart attack recovered faster if they maintained a proper sleep schedule. The study was conducted on mice and found definitively that the sleep schedule sped up healing. As researchers learn more and more about sleep, its impact on recovery has become more apparent. Maintaining a natural circadian rhythm during the first five days of recovery were instrumental in getting back on your feet after a major event like a heart attack. During the first five days of recovery, the mice “were likely to go more quickly to heart failure. Disrupting circadian rhythms for the first few days after a heart attack worsens the disease outcome.” The mice that were allowed to sleep through the night and encouraged to follow normal sleep patterns were able to experience proper scar formation, removal of dead tissue, growth of blood vessels in the heart, and growth of new cells. Many hospitals wake up patients during the night for vitals, medication, and more. Intensive care units are the busiest part of the hospital with 24/7 light, noise, and medical procedures. While ill patients need attention, it may be equally important to get them back on track with positive sleep patterns.

This study has the potential to influence the patterns which a hospital uses for checking on recovering patients. After discovering the importance of circadian rhythms in the first five days after a heart attack, the researchers at the University of Guelph created a set of procedures a hospital should follow for patient care, “We have devised a simple way to better practice medicine to improve the outcome from heart attacks by considering normal circadian rhythms.”

While the study explored the importance of sleep after heart attacks, there is potential to explore the effect of sleep on recovery from other traumatic events. All in all, this study confirmed the importance of circadian rhythms after a heart attack. The researchers recommend, “To improve recovery for heart attack patients, hospitals should maintain normal day and night cycles for those patients during the first few days after the attack.”