Going to sleep between 10 and 11pm linked to lower risk of heart disease, new study finds
Going to sleep between 10:00 and 11:00 pm is associated with a lower risk of developing heart and circulatory disease compared to earlier or later bedtimes, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal – Digital Health.
While many studies have investigated the link between sleep duration and heart and circulatory diseases, the relationship between sleep timing and heart disease hasn’t been explored as thoroughly.
3,172 participants (3.6 per cent) developed heart and circulatory disease during follow up.
Compared to people who fell asleep between 10:00 and 10:59pm, people who fell asleep after midnight had a 25 per cent higher risk of developing heart and circulatory disease.
Those who fell asleep between 11:00 and 11:59pm had a 12 per cent higher risk, while falling asleep before 10:00pm led to a 24 per cent increased risk.
In a further analysis of the data the researchers found that the link between sleep time and heart and circulatory disease appeared to be stronger in women.
Only falling asleep before 10:00pm seemed to increase the risk of developing heart and circulatory disease for men.
Optimum time to go to sleep
Dr. David Plans, a Turing Fellow from the University of Exeter and the author of the study, said: “The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning.
“Our study indicates that the optimum time to go to sleep is at a specific point in the body’s 24-hour cycle and deviations may be detrimental to health. The riskiest time was after midnight, potentially because it may reduce the likelihood of seeing morning light, which resets the body clock.
“While the findings do not show causality, sleep timing has emerged as a potential cardiac risk factor – independent of other risk factors and sleep characteristics. If our findings are confirmed in other studies, sleep timing and basic sleep hygiene could be a low-cost public health target for lowering risk of heart disease.”
Sleep is important for heart health
Regina Giblin, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “This large study suggests that going to sleep between 10 and 11pm could be the sweet spot for most people to keep their heart healthy long-term.”
“However, it’s important to remember that this study can only show an association and can’t prove cause and effect. More research is needed into sleep timing and duration as a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases. ”
“Getting enough sleep is important for our general wellbeing as well as our heart and circulatory health, and most adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.”
“But sleep isn’t the only factor that can impact heart health. It’s also important to look at your lifestyle as knowing your numbers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, cutting down on salt and alcohol intake, and eating a balanced diet can also help to keep your heart healthy.”
Find out more about BHF risk factor research
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