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Beware of These 3 Common Heart Health Misconceptions

Did you know that heart disease is the number one leading cause of death for both men and women in America? With that in mind, heart disease is a very serious and life-threatening condition you should try to keep away from. So, how to lower your risk of heart disease? Mind your diet.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the food you eat can remarkably affect your heart health as well as your risk of heart disease. In general, people believe that they should avoid, or at least, limit their intake of eggs, as well as increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids. However, these are both myths.

On the other hand, you should indeed pack your diet with the vitamins, minerals, and energy you need while keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight in control. Doing so, you will ensure you have the nutrients needed to function properly throughout the day, as well as keep optimal heart health.

Now, let’s have a look at three common heart health misconceptions you should avoid.

3 Common Heart Health Myths

  1. Coconut Oil is a Heart-Friendly Cooking Option

The myth: To start with cooking oils, many people mistakenly believe that coconut oil is a safe alternative when it comes to keeping a healthy heart. But, coconut oil is very high in saturated fat. Indeed, it has around 50% more saturated fat compared to butter.

Why is this a bad thing? Because saturated fat increases cholesterol and is also connected to heart disease risk. Some experts even claim that some of the saturated fats found in coconut oil called medium-chain triglycerides have a lower negative impact and can actually increase the levels of HDL cholesterol, also known as good cholesterol.

The truth: It has been proven that coconut oil can not only increase the levels of HDL cholesterol but also LDL cholesterol, known as bad cholesterol. Plus, coconut oil only has small amounts of medium-chain triglycerides. Hence, try some other healthier plant-based oils such as olive or canola oil.

  1. Eggs, or at least the Yolks, Aren’t Heart Friendly

The myth: The next common heart health misconception on our list is about eggs. Namely, as egg yolks are high in cholesterol, people believe that they shouldn’t consume eggs, or at least the yolks. They think that it is logical that eating cholesterol results in high cholesterol levels. But, is this right? Let’s see.

The truth: The liver makes most of the cholesterol in the body, i.e. it isn’t delivered through diet. So, although diet plays a role, researchers have proven that cholesterol levels are more linked with the fat you eat, saturated and trans fats, than cholesterol. Hence, eating an egg per day cannot increase your risk of heart attack or stroke, but can provide you with healthy nutrients such as vitamins A and D, and protein.

  1. Omega-3 Supplements Boost Heart Health

The myth: Finally, it is believed that fish consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease due to the unsaturated fatty acids found in seafood, known to reduce inflammation and decrease triglyceride levels. That said, many people turned to omega-3 supplements in the belief that they will help them keep a healthy heart, especially if they don’t eat fish regularly.

The truth: Studies conducted on almost 80,000 patients didn’t find any link between heart disease and omega-3 fatty acid supplements. That said, even though supplements aren’t likely to harm you, you’d better get your omega-3 from your diet.

When Your Partner's Sleep Habits Affect Your Rest: Solutions

Although it may come as a surprise, someone else’s bad sleep habits can impact your own as we are all social creatures. This means that if your partner is doing something, you are quite likely to join them in. That is human nature.

Hence, even though you may know that some of their habits are messing with the quality of your sleep, it may be hard for you to fight back and make changes. Luckily, we have the solutions. Here’s how you can fight back without fighting with each other.

How to Handle Partner’s Bad Sleep Habits and Improve Your Sleep?

  1. Your Partner’s Sleep Pattern is Out of Whack

Although the cause of this problem is often work-related, there are numerous reasons why your and your partner’s sleep patterns aren’t matching up. In this case, both the consistency of your sleep schedule and your sleep quality can be affected negatively.

The Solution – Ask your partner to stick to a more regular sleep schedule and ensure that you keep a regular sleep schedule yourself. This is crucial if you don’t want your own circadian rhythm to get out of whack. And, to avoid waking each other up, try using a white noise machine or earplugs.

  1. Your Partner Falls Asleep on the TV

Many people have developed a behavioral association or habit of falling asleep to the television. Namely, such a habit can remarkably affect sleep as TVs, and also other electronic gadgets, emit melatonin-suppressing blue light, as well as a lot of noise.

The Solution – If your partner finds it hard to fall asleep without the TV on, try decreasing the brightness of the TV or adding a blue light filter to the screen. In addition, you can set a sleep timer so that the TV turns itself off after a specific amount of time. Again, earplugs and an eye mask can also come in handy.

  1. Your Partner Tosses and Turns in Bed

In general, when not being able to fall asleep, people tend to toss and turn in bed. As time passes, the frustration and anxiety over the lack of sleep increases, and it makes it even harder to fall asleep. So, this tossing and turning may lead to a choppy night’s sleep for both partners.

The Solution –Instead of letting them toss and turn after not being able to fall asleep, ask them to get out of bed and wait until they feel sleepy enough. Also, if you are super sensitive to their movements, buy a memory foam mattress that will absorb their movements or even two twin mattresses so that you sleep on separate mattresses with a small gap between them.

  1. Your Partner Prefers Keeping a Light On

Last but not least, some people prefer to keep a light on while they sleep. If your partner fits this group, your circadian rhythm can get disrupted. Plus, too much light before bedtime can also affect the production of many sleep-related hormones, like melatonin.

The Solution –You may compromise and agree to switch to a dimmed light or a night light if your partner finds it impossible to fall asleep without any light at all. The less light, the better. Similarly, you can try wearing blue light-blocking glasses in the evenings and switch to an eye mask once you get in bed.

Ways to Get a Better Night's Sleep

Getting the recommended amount of sleep, which is 7-0 hours for adults, each night is of utmost importance for keeping optimal mental and physical health. Namely, quality sleep can help improve your mental health, boost energy levels, enhance immunity, maintain a healthy weight, and much more. So, if you’ve been experiencing sleep issues lately, it’s time you take action and follow the below-listed tips on how to improve your sleep duration and quality.

Four Ways to Improve Your Sleep

  1. Wait an Hour to Drink Your Morning Coffee

Holding off on your morning cup of coffee is the first step toward getting enough quality sleep. In general, most people prepare their cup of coffee first thing in the morning to help them with their waking up process. However, this process, called sleep inertia, happens naturally and makes us sluggish after waking up but slowly disappears as we get up and start moving. That said, drinking coffee as soon as you wake up provides more of a placebo effect than anything else.

  1. Consider the Intermittent Fasting Method

Not only should you postpone your cup of coffee in the morning, but you should also have breakfast later in the morning if you want to get proper sleep. The popular intermittent fasting method involves keeping your food intake to an 8-hour window and fasting for 16 hours. Yet, you don’t have to be as rigid to get the sleep you need. Instead, try eating within 10-12 hours and have breakfast a little later in the morning, and dinner a little earlier in the evening. And, avoid heavy foods in the evening to avoid reflux which can interfere with sleep.

  1. Avoid Alcohol Consumption Late at Night

Unfortunately, many people believe that alcohol may help them get better sleep. The truth is that it can initially help you doze off but will disrupt your sleep later in the night causing shallow sleep and frequent awakenings and you will end up getting poor quality sleep. This is even more pronounced in those sensitive to alcohol’s effects or those who consume more than 2 drinks close to bedtime. Hence, consider having a glass of wine at dinner, which could be healthy for you, instead of right before bedtime.

  1. Follow a Regular Morning and Nightly Routine

Last but not least, find a morning and nightly routine sustainable for your lifestyle to keep your circadian rhythm the same every day. Experts advise getting up and being active immediately upon waking. So, no using the snooze button, playing on your phone, or lingering in bed. Similarly, avoid using screens in bed, try a relaxing nightly routine like reading or meditation, and give yourself enough time to wind down. In other words, your bed should be for sleep and sex only.

Final Thoughts

If you want to get a better night’s sleep, the above-listed tips can help you achieve your goal quite easily. In short, you should mind your caffeine, food, and alcohol intake before bedtime and follow a sleep schedule with an active morning and relaxing bedtime routine. It might seem daunting at first, but once you get used to it you will be delighted by all the benefits you will enjoy from getting enough quality sleep.