min read
June 21, 2023

The link between sleep and heart health

Understanding the clinical and financial outcomes of poor sleep and heart health in your organization — so you can help employees live healthier lives.

Everyone needs sleep, but do you understand exactly why it’s so critical to the overall health of your employees? Sleep is the body’s time to rest and repair. When that process is interrupted, it can take a toll on all aspects of the body, including heart health — which can lead to big problems in the workplace.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the impacts of poor sleep and heart health on your employees and your organization as a whole — and what can happen when these issues compound. Plus, we’ll share an opportunity to hear from leaders in health tech on interventions you can implement to help your workforce live healthier lives while significantly cutting costs.

How sleep affects the heart

When we sleep, blood pressure and heart rate naturally drop, which gives the heart a break from working at full capacity. Without time to rest, the heart works overtime.

Research shows that people who struggle with sleep disturbances like insomnia are more likely to experience health challenges like strokes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and heart disease.

Another study examining the impact of sleep and wake cycles on heart health found that the risk of developing cardiovascular disease nearly doubled for participants with the most irregular sleep-wake patterns. And those with insomnia are more likely to develop heart disease risk factors.

The impact of poor heart health on sleep

The relationship between sleep and heart health is symbiotic. High blood pressure — a top risk factor for heart disease — can also make sleep more difficult. High blood pressure can put stress on your blood vessels, which can cause headaches, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. All these symptoms can make sleep difficult.

Additionally, according to research from the AHA, medication for high blood pressure may also impact sleep. Unusual dreams, insomnia, and sleep disorders may be linked to beta-blockers, and the most common reason for discontinuing beta-blockers was fatigue/tiredness.

The individual impacts of poor sleep and heart health

It’s clear the link between sleep and heart health is strong, but what does that mean for your organization?

Tired employees can directly impact workplace productivity. Employees with insomnia cost, on average, over $6,000 more in healthcare spending.1 Those with insomnia have also been found to have 3.2 more unproductive work hours per week, which can cost employers over $5,000 per employee per year in lost productivity costs.1

And as the leading cause of death in the US, heart disease seriously threatens employee health outcomes and increases costs for employers. The average total medical spending per year for each individual with cardiovascular disease is $9,842.2

You can see the impacts these conditions can have on your organization alone and how, if they compound, the result can be devastating. That’s why taking a proactive approach to addressing them early on is so important.

Digital therapeutics as an effective solution

So, how can you address insomnia and heart health in your organization? Digital therapeutics, like those offered by Big Health and Hello Heart, help millions overcome their insomnia and manage their heart health, respectively.

You’ll benefit from a healthier and more productive workforce by offering your employees access to solutions that fit into their daily lives and can lessen the downstream impact of these conditions.

Learn more from our webinar with CVS Health

Interested in learning more? Watch and listen to an engaging webinar with Arun Gupta, CEO of Big Health, Maayan Cohen, Founder and CEO of Hello Heart, and Juliana Rose, Executive Director of Product Innovation at CVS Health, where they discuss the link between sleep and heart health and the value of digital therapeutics. Access the replay here.

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Sleepio is temporarily being made available as a treatment for insomnia disorder without a prescription. Sleepio has not been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of insomnia disorder.

Hello Heart does not diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or act as a substitute for medical care.

DOC-2956 Effective 07/2023

  1. Internal Data. (2023).
  2. Figure calculated as part of Validation Institute’s analysis of Hello Heart cost savings. Source: Validation Institute. 2022 Validation Report (Valid Through October 2023). Published October 2022. Accessed June 8, 2023. (This analysis was commissioned by Hello Heart, which provided a summary report of self-funded employer client medical claims data for 203 Hello Heart users and 200 non-users from 2017-2020. Findings have not been subjected to peer review.)

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During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Sleepio and Daylight are being made available as treatments for insomnia disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), respectively, without a prescription. Sleepio and Daylight have not been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of insomnia disorder and GAD, respectively.

1. Qaseem, A., Kansagara, D., Forciea, M. A., Cooke, M., & Denberg, T. D. (2016). Management of chronic insomnia disorder in adults: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine, 165(2), 125-133.2. Riemann, D., Baglioni, C., Bassetti, C., Bjorvatn, B., Dolenc Groselj, L., Ellis, J. G., … & Spiegelhalder, K. (2017). European guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of insomnia. Journal of Sleep Research, 26(6), 675-700.3. Wilson, S., Anderson, K., Baldwin, D., Dijk, D. J., Espie, A., Espie, C., … & Sharpley, A. (2019). British Association for Psychopharmacology consensus statement on evidence-based treatment of insomnia, parasomnias and circadian rhythm disorders: an update. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 33(8), 923-947.4. King’s Technology Evaluation Centre. (2017, November 9). Overview: Health app: SLEEPIO for adults with poor Sleep: Advice. NICE. Espie, C. A., Kyle, S. D., Williams, C., Ong, J. C., Douglas, N. J., Hames, P., & Brown, J. S. (2012). A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of online cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic insomnia disorder delivered via an automated media-rich web application. Sleep, 35(6), 769-781.6. Carl, J. R., Miller, C. B., Henry, A. L., Davis, M. L., Stott, R., Smits, J. A., … & Espie, C. A. (2020). Efficacy of digital cognitive behavioral therapy for moderate‐to‐severe symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Depression and Anxiety, 37(12), 1168-1178.

DOC-3046 Effective 11/2023