The American Heart Association (AHA) has updated its list of essential components for heart and brain health. The organization added sleep duration to its "Life's Simple 7" and renamed the list "Life's Essential 8." The rest of the list covers diet, physical activity, exposure to nicotine (including secondhand smoke), weight, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. Addressing each of those factors can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and help ward off a heart attack or stroke. Why did the AHA add sleep to the list? Because sleep affects overall health, and getting enough sleep helps keep the other risk factors in check. Plus, wearable trackers make it easier than ever to measure your sleep. The AHA recommends that all adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
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