Falling asleep between certain hours has been shown to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Did you know that more than 80% of heart disease cases can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle?
We may not have control over the genetics that affect heart health, but we can quit smoking, exercise regularly, and eat high-fiber foods. But you probably already knew all that.
Well, here’s something you’re probably hearing for the first time:
A 2021 study published in the European Heart Journal found that people who fall asleep between 10pm and 11pm are less likely to develop heart disease than those who do so before or after.
See, our bodies have a 24-hour internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. It is a biological system that helps regulate physical and mental functioning.
David Plans (study author) and his team cannot officially conclude this as the cause without more evidence. But he’s confident the results suggest early or late bedtimes can disrupt our biological clocks. And this can have negative effects on our heart health.
Also take a look at:
What went wrong in the study + results
Plan’s team analyzed data from more than 88,000 participants stored in the UK Biobank. About 60% of the participants were women, with an average age of 61 years. As part of the study, participants were asked about their daily health habits. They were also given a sleep tracking device.
The researchers found that those who fell asleep between 11 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. had a 12% higher risk of heart disease. This rose to 25% at midnight or later. People who sleep earlier don’t seem safe either, with a 24% higher risk of developing heart disease.
For more accurate results, the researchers removed other factors that can increase a person’s risk of heart disease. This included smoking, high blood pressure and socioeconomic status. And their findings were the same.
This is of course not a new hypothesis. Many of our systems are influenced by our biological clock. Previous research has shown that people with abnormal bedtimes (such as shift workers) have a higher risk of heart disease. For example, they may find it more difficult to move and eat well.
Researchers believe their findings reveal possible links between bedtimes and heart health. But they do warn that more work needs to be done in this area.
If more studies support these findings, timing your sleep properly could be an inexpensive public health strategy to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Of course, some can’t always control their bedtimes because of work and responsibilities. But whenever possible, sleep experts advise consistency with your sleep schedule. Try to avoid eating large meals or drinking caffeine before going to bed. Create a dark, quiet sleeping environment and aim for 7-8 hours of sleep.
Increasing research shows that prioritizing a good night’s sleep is beneficial not only for the next day, but for your overall health in the long run.
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