Your risk of heart disease may be influenced by the time you go to bed. According to studies, there is a heart-healthy time to fall asleep: between 10 and 11 p.m.
A review of data from over 88,000 persons observed for six years found that those who went asleep between 11 and 11:59 p.m. had a 12 percent higher chance of getting cardiovascular disease, while those who fell asleep at midnight or later had a 25 percent higher risk. According to a study published Monday in the European Heart Journal—Digital Health, falling asleep earlier than 10 p.m. was linked to a 24 percent increase in risk.
In a statement, David Plans, a neuroscientist and experimental psychologist who is a senior lecturer in organisational neuroscience at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, said, “The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning.” “While the results of our study do not prove causation, they do imply that early or late bedtimes are more likely to upset the body clock, which could have negative effects for cardiovascular health.”
Plans and his colleagues used UK Biobank to look into how varied bedtimes can influence heart health. UK Biobank has information on almost 500,000 volunteers aged 37 to 73 who were recruited between 2006 and 2010 and supplied information on their demographics, lifestyles, and health. Their physical well-being was also examined.
The study looked at 88,926 persons, with an average age of 61, who wore accelerometers (devices that record when people move) on their wrists for seven days. The researchers used accelerometer data to identify the times of sleep start and waking.
During a 5.7-year follow-up period, 3,172 of the volunteers (3.6 percent) had cardiovascular events such as strokes, heart attacks, or heart failure; incidences were highest among those who fell asleep after midnight and lowest among those who fell asleep between 10 and 10:59 p.m.
Even after accounting for a variety of factors such as age, gender, sleep duration, sleep irregularity, being an early or late bird, smoking status, BMI, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and socioeconomic status, falling asleep regularly at midnight or later was still linked to the highest increased risk of heart disease.
Women who slept later had a higher probability of falling asleep late. Men had a higher risk of heart disease if they went to bed sooner in the evening, before 10 p.m.
Dr. Francoise Marvel, an assistant professor and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Digital Health Lab at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, said the new study “truly validates what we know from a cardiovascular risk prevention approach — sleep is a risk factor.” “However, there is a significant gap to be aware of: there is no data to suggest that enhancing sleep could successfully reduce cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke at this time.”
Previous research has revealed that sleep duration is crucial, according to Marvel. The new study did not look at wake-up times in conjunction with sleep beginning, but according to the American Heart Association’s primary prevention guidelines, those who sleep less than six hours are at risk for hypertension, a major cardiovascular risk factor, she added.
Dr. Roxana Mehran, an interventional cardiologist and a professor of medicine, cardiology, and population health research and policy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said the findings about women are particularly “intriguing.”
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in the United States.
“So we need to figure out what’s more crucial or less important in terms of preventing heart disease in women,” Mehran added.
Still, she cautioned, the findings should be viewed with caution. The current study finds a link but does not prove that sleeping later or earlier than the hour between 10 and 11 p.m. causes heart disease. Other causes, such as stress, worry, and depression, could be the underlying perpetrators, she suggested.
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