Can sleeping early save you from heart diseases? Research tells of an optimal time to doze off

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Nov 09, 2021, 02:12 PM(IST)

Sleep clock (Representational Image) Photograph:( Others )

Story highlights

People who fell asleep at midnight or later faced a 25 per cent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, whereas those who fell asleep before 10 pm faced a 24 per cent increased risk

Research indicates there may actually be an optimal time to fall asleep. The sweet spot for dozing off, at least when it comes to heart health, appears to be between 10 pm and 11 pm; not too early and not too late.

Based on over 88,000 participants of the UK Biobank, a study has concluded that going to sleep at 10 pm or shortly thereafter reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In spite of the study's findings, it cannot prove that early or late bedtimes increase cardiovascular disease risk. 
People's sleep patterns may also be affected by other health conditions or behaviours, such as staying out late and drinking, which may also increase their cardiovascular disease risk.

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Moreover, the study did not pay attention to the quality of the participants' sleep, only to its length and timing.

David Plans, senior lecturer at the University of Exeter and head of research at Huma Therapeutics, who co-authored the study, pointed out that an early or late bedtime could possibly prevent individuals from receiving important cues, such as morning sunlight, that reset the body's internal clock.

He explains that when the circadian clock isn't reset properly over a prolonged period of time, inflammation increases and glucose regulation is impacted, both of which can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The team then examined data gathered from wrist-based devices worn by participants for seven days to see if there was a correlation with the time that participants fell asleep.

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Taking various factors into account, including age, sex, smoking status, duration of sleep, irregular sleep patterns, diabetes status, blood pressure, and socio-economic status, the researchers found participants who went to sleep between 10 pm and 10:59 pm had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

People who fell asleep at midnight or later faced a 25 per cent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, whereas those who fell asleep before 10 pm faced a 24 per cent increased risk.

Those who fell asleep even an hour later had a 12 per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to Plans, since they also took into account all of the more common cardiovascular risk factors, this association is clearly significant.

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More research is needed with more participants to examine the results, and there was not enough evidence to recommend a certain bedtime at this time.

He explained, however, that the study highlighted the importance of sleep hygiene or habits that contribute to a good night's sleep.

Lastly, Plans pointed out that people often assume cardiovascular disease is the result of physiological influences. In reality, circadian disruption has a substantial impact on the cardiovascular system.

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