There are many possible factors that can contribute to your risk for developing atrial fibrillation. What some people don’t realize is that your lifestyle can have a major impact on your AFib risk. Several unexpected lifestyle habits can significantly increase your risk of developing this heart condition. By being aware of these habits and cutting back on the ones that apply to you, it is possible to reduce your risk.

Lack of Sleep

How much sleep do you get each night? Ideally, most adults need between seven and eight hours for optimal health and function. Recent studies have even found that a lack of sleep can actually trigger AFib in otherwise healthy adults. If you’re not getting enough sleep each night, now is the time to start heading to bed earlier. If you have trouble sleeping, consider taking a melatonin supplement to promote more restful sleep. This is a great alternative to sleep medications.

Working Long Hours

One study of 85,000 adults found that those working 55+ hours per week were upwards of 40% more likely to develop AFib within the next 10 years than those who worked “standard” workweeks of 35 to 40 hours. Researchers believe that longer work hours can affect the body’s nervous system, which can raise your risk of AFib. It is also likely that those who work more hours per week are under more stress than those who do not.

If you relate to a lack of sleep or long work hours, it may be time to make a change. You should also consider having a heart-health screening with your doctor. If you or a loved one are living with a heart rhythm disorder such as atrial fibrillation, contact Heart Rhythm Consultants. Dr. Dilip Mathew is Board Certified in Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology and has been serving patients in Sarasota and surrounding cities including Port Charlotte, Venice, Tampa and Sun City Center for over a decade.