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Sleep problems can increase risk of cardiovascular events in stroke survivors

Researchers say improving sleep patterns in stroke survivors could improve their long-term outcomes. © Shutterstock

Sleep-wake disturbances may put stroke survivors at higher risk of experiencing cardiovascular events, says a study. Here are some tips to help stoke survivors get better sleep.

Stroke survivors who are experiencing sleep problems may be at increased risk of developing cardiovascular issues. According to a study presented at the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Virtual Congress, having multiple sleep-wake disturbances such as sleep-disordered breathing, extreme long or short sleep duration, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome, can increase the risk of a new cardio-cerebrovascular event in the two years following a stroke. The study was conducted on 438 individuals aged between 21 to 86 years who had been hospitalized after an acute ischemic stroke.

Acute ischemic stroke is a type of stroke caused by a blocked blood vessel to the brain or a transient ischemic attack which is a 'mini-stroke' caused by a brief blockage of the blood supply to the brain with transient clinical symptoms up to 24 hours. The presence and severity of the sleep-wake disturbances, such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome and sleep duration, as well as daytime symptoms such as sleepiness, were noted for every individual at 1, 3, 12, and 24 months after their stroke. The researchers suggested that improving sleep patterns in stroke survivors could improve their long-term outcomes. So, here are a few tips which will help stroke survivors to sleep better:

Stick to your sleep time

Fix up your sleep time accordingly and have at least 6 hours of sleep every night. Make sure you maintain your regular sleep and waking up times to regularize your sleep patterns.

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Avoid afternoon naps

Stop those afternoon naps if you want to have a peaceful and prolonged sleep at night. Or if you have a habit of sleeping in the afternoon try fixing a duration of your day naps. Avoid sleeping for more than half an hour during the day time.

Opt for some physical activity

A type of physical exercise or a walk before bed time is ideal for chronic insomnia. Set up a workout or a yoga schedule for improving your sleeping pattern. You may try exercises like kneeling lat stretch, neck stretches, yoga asanas like child pose and more to have a sound sleep.

Have a suitable diet

Diet has a lot to do with your sleeping pattern. A healthy dinner may help you improve your sleep. Therefore, try drinking warm milk or herbal tea with chamomile before you go to bed. Also, avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco to help you sleep quickly.

Pamper yourself to sleep

Taking self care and reducing tension before hitting the bed is very crucial to have a sound sleep. So, pamper yourself by taking a warm bath with bath salts, or getting massages, listening to soothing music or chants, to create a 'sleep environment' in your bedroom.

Avoid spending time on gadgets

According to many studies, watching TV or sending time on your mobile phones may often work against letting you sleep. Instead of using the gadgets, try reading a book before you sleep.

Check your mattress and pillow

Make sure your mattress and pillow are comfortable. If you've been unable to sleep due to itching, sneezing, etc, at night, your mattress may be the problem. Bed bugs, dust mites, mold may grow over the mattress over time if not maintained well

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