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    Mayo Clinic Minute: Sleep and your heart

Sleep is an important part of staying heart-healthy. Adults who clock fewer than seven hours a night are more likely to have health problems, such as heart attack and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says adequate sleep can help you reduce your risk of many heart-related issues.

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How much sleep do adults need to be heart-healthy?

"Napoleon said the common man requires seven, the fool requires eight, and I require but six. So … everybody's individual," says Dr. Kopecky.

Individual sleep needs vary, but the general rule is for adults to get seven to nine hours a night.

"Why is sleep important to heart health? A couple reasons," says Dr. Kopecky.

If you have a condition such as obstructive sleep apnea keeping you from getting sufficient sleep, you're at increased risk of arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats.

Arrhythmias increase your risk of serious events, such as stroke, heart attack and sudden cardiac death.

"The second thing is if you don't sleep adequately, it's been shown that other habits are not as good. You don't eat as well. You eat more junk food," says Dr. Kopecky.

Plus, you might be too tired to exercise. Talk to your health care provider about ways to help you sleep better to improve heart health.