Going to Bed After This Time Makes Your Heart Disease Risk Soar, New Study Says
Falling asleep too late or too early can increase your risk significantly.
We all know the importance of consistently getting a good night's rest, whether or not we actually make it happen. But beyond just the amount and the quality of sleep we get, new research now points to a specific bedtime that can boost your heart health—along with times of night you should not be hitting the hay. Read on to find out how going to sleep after a certain hour can make your risk of heart disease soar.
Going to sleep after 11 p.m. increases your risk of heart disease.
According to a new report published Nov. 9 in the European Heart Journal—Digital Health, researchers found that the ideal bedtime for heart health is between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. The analysis comes from data that tracked more than 88,000 adults for approximately six years. But what if you're a night owl? The study revealed that those who fell asleep in the 11 o'clock hour had a 12 percent higher risk for cardiovascular disease, and people who fell asleep after midnight were at a 25 percent higher risk.
People with a sensible bedtime should also take note that falling asleep earlier than 10 p.m. was associated with a 25 percent higher risk as well.
Going to bed too early or too late can disrupt the body's natural clock.
While the research didn't determine a cause-and-effect relationship between bedtimes and heart disease, it did indicate the importance of the body's natural clock within the equation. "The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning," study co-author and neuroscientist David Plans, MSc, said in a statement, per NBC News. "While we cannot conclude causation from our study, the results suggest that early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health."
Bedtime is connected with heart disease even more than other key factors.
The researchers focused on close to 90,000 adults with an average age of 61. Participants wore wrist devices that recorded their movements, called accelerometers, and determined when they slept and woke. Over the six-year period, the best outcomes for heart health in the group were among those who fell asleep in the 10 o'clock hour. The increased risk was more significant among women who fell asleep later. Men were at higher risk only when they fell asleep before 10 p.m., according to the data.
It was a bedtime after midnight that was most linked to increased risk—even more so than age, gender, amount of sleep, body-mass index, diabetes, blood pressure, and other key factors.
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Sleep timing and hygiene could help Americans lower their risk of heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the nation's leading cause of death. With that in mind, any new data can be a welcome tool to helping Americans bring their risk factors under control.
"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," Plans explained in the statement. "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."