According to a large study, going to bed during the “golden hour” between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. reduces the risk of developing heart disease.
Scientists found that there is a link between bedtime and heart attacks and strokes, especially in women, with those who stay up late at greater risk.
The University of Exeter study found that going to bed after midnight can damage the heart because people are less likely to see morning light and disrupt the natural clock.
It looked at data from more than 88,000 British adults between the ages of 43 and 74.
Participants wore wrist trackers for a week that monitored when they fell asleep and woke up, as well as answering questions about their lifestyle.
This was compared to her five-year medical records listing cases of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.
The study found that the lowest rate of heart problems occurred in those who went to sleep between 10:00 PM and 10:59 PM each night.
University of Exeter researchers examined data from more than 88,000 British adults between the ages of 43 and 74. Participants wore wrist trackers for a week that monitored when they fell asleep and woke up, and also answered questions about their lifestyle. The team found that the lowest rate of heart problems occurred in those who went to sleep between 10:00 PM and 10:59 PM each night
TIPS FOR A GOOD SLEEP
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, getting regular bedtime will help you relax and prepare for bed.
Few people manage to stick to strict bedtime routines. This isn’t a huge problem for most people, but irregular sleep times aren’t helpful for people with insomnia.
Your routine will depend on what works for you, but the most important thing is to work out a routine and stick to it.
Sleep at regular times
First, stick to regular sleep times. This programs the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.
Most adults need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep each night. By figuring out when to wake up, you can set a regular sleeping schedule.
It’s also important to wake up at the same time each day. While it might be a good idea to get some sleep after a bad night, it can also disrupt your sleep routine if you do it regularly.
Make sure you relax
Relaxing is a critical phase in preparing for bed. There are many ways to relax:
- A warm bath (not hot) will help your body reach a temperature that is ideal for relaxation
- Writing to-do lists for the next day can organize your thoughts and clear your mind of distractions
Relaxation exercises like light yoga stretches help relax the muscles. Do not exercise too much as it will have the opposite effect
Relaxation CDs work with a carefully narrated script, soft hypnotic music, and sound effects to help you relax
Reading a book or listening to the radio relaxes the mind by distracting it
There are a number of apps that are designed to help you fall asleep. See the NHS App Library
Avoid using smartphones, tablets, or other electronic devices for about an hour before going to bed, as the light from the screen on these devices can have a negative impact on sleep
Make your bedroom sleep friendly
Your bedroom should be a relaxing environment. Experts claim that there is a strong connection between sleep and bedroom in people’s minds.
However, certain things weaken this association, such as televisions and other electronic devices, lights, noise, and a bad mattress or bed.
Keep your bedroom only for sleeping and sex (or masturbation). Unlike most vigorous physical activity, sex makes us sleepy. This has developed in humans over millennia.
Your bedroom should ideally be dark, quiet, tidy and kept at a temperature between 18 and 24 ° C.
Put up some thick curtains if you don’t have one. If noise is bothering you, invest in double glazing or, for a cheaper option, use earplugs.
Keep a sleep diary
It can be useful to keep a sleep diary. It can reveal lifestyle habits or daily activities that are contributing to your insomnia.
When you see your family doctor or a sleep expert, they will likely ask you to keep a sleep diary to help diagnose your sleep problems.
A sleep diary can also reveal underlying conditions that explain your insomnia, such as stress or medication.
People who went to bed after midnight were 25 percent more likely to develop heart problems.
And going to bed before 10 p.m. was associated with a 24 percent higher risk, while rates were 12 percent higher for those who nodded off between 11 p.m. and midnight.
The study, published in the European Heart Journal, concluded that encouraging people to sleep regularly could help prevent cases of heart disease at “minimal cost”.
The lead author Dr. David Plans said, “The body has an internal 24-hour clock called a circadian rhythm that helps regulate physical and mental function.
“The results suggest that sleeping early or late is more likely to disrupt the internal clock, with negative consequences for cardiovascular health.”
Dr. Plans said, “Our study shows that the optimal time to fall asleep is at some point in the body’s 24-hour cycle, and deviations can be harmful to health.
“The riskiest time was after midnight, possibly because it reduces the chances of seeing the morning light, which sets the internal clock back.”
The study found that the association between bedtime and risk of heart disease was strongest in women, possibly due to hormonal differences and menopause.
Men who stayed awake past midnight did not experience any ill effects, although those who went to bed before 10 p.m. were more likely to have heart problems.
Dr. Plans said, “There may be a gender difference in how the endocrine system responds to a disruption in the circadian rhythm.
“Alternatively, the older age of the study participants could be a disruptive factor as the cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women increases – meaning there may be no difference in the strength of the association between women and men.” Research shows that decreased levels of estrogen after menopause increase the risk of heart disease in women.
The study says encouraging people to go to bed before 11 p.m. could reduce the risk of heart disease for millions of people.
Dr. Plans said, “Although the results show no causality, sleep timing has been shown to be a potential cardiac risk factor – independent of other risk factors and sleep characteristics.
“If our results are confirmed in other studies, sleep timing and basic sleep hygiene could be a cost-effective public health goal to reduce the risk of heart disease.
“The timing of sleep would be an attractive target for interventions to reduce the risk of CVD because of its minimal cost and invasiveness.
“This intervention could take the form of public health guidelines, structured intervention programs, or technology-based solutions such as smartphone apps.”
Heart and circulatory diseases cause one in four deaths in the UK – about 160,000 deaths a year, and about 7.6 million Britons live with heart disease.
Regina Giblin, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said, “This large study suggests that falling asleep between 10pm and 11pm could be the sweet spot for most people to keep their heart healthy over the long term.
“It is important to remember, however, that this study can only establish a link and cannot prove cause and effect. Further research into the timing and duration of sleep as a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases is needed.
“Getting enough sleep is important for our general well-being and cardiovascular health, and most adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
“But sleep isn’t the only factor that can affect heart health. It’s also important to consider your lifestyle, as knowing your numbers like blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, reducing salt and alcohol consumption, and eating a balanced diet can also help keep your heart healthy. ‘