Researchers have emphasised the importance of a regular bedtime, as well as going to between 10 and 11:00 pm, as means of protecting heart health.
With the fast pace of modern life, it can be difficult to go to bed at the same time every night.
However, new research has emphasised the importance of a regular bedtime, as well as going to sleep between 10 and 11 pm, as means of protecting heart health.
For the study, scientists examined the relationship between sleep timing and heart disease in a sample of over 88,000 adults with an average age of 61. Data on sleep onset and waking up time were collected over seven days using a wrist-worn accelerometer, with participants also completing demographic, lifestyle, health and physical assessments and questionnaires.
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During an average follow-up of five years, around four per cent of participants developed cardiovascular disease, and the incidence was highest in those with sleep times at midnight or later and lowest in those with sleep onset from 10 to 10:59 pm.
Reflecting on the results, Dr David Plans of the of Exeter noted that they suggest early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health.
"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," he commented.
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"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 ."
Full study results have been published in the ‘European Heart Journal – Digital Health’.