Do you tend to fall asleep between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., mama? If so, that’s good news in terms of your heart health. That bedtime is linked to having the lowest risk for cardiovascular disease, new research finds.
For adults, nodding off during that specific hour is associated with having a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in European Heart Journal.
Does it mean that hitting the hay during the 10 o’clock hour can definitely reduce your cardiovascular disease risk? Not exactly, the team cautions. They found a link between that bedtime and decreased risk, but they haven’t established that the bedtime will cause you to have a lower risk.
Still, their results do show that going to bed before 10 or after 11 p.m. is tied to having a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. And it may disrupt your circadian rhythm, which can impact your hormones, eating habits, digestion and more.
The link between sleep and cardiovascular disease
The researchers examined information from 88,026 people in the UK, which included data from a wearable device on the times they fell asleep and woke up over the course of seven days.
When the researchers followed up 5.7 years later (on average), 3.6% of the people developed cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels, and it includes coronary heart disease (CHD). All heart diseases fall under the term cardiovascular diseases, but not all cardiovascular diseases are defined as heart disease, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute reports.
The riskiest time to go to sleep
Listen up, night owls: Going to bed after midnight was the most risky. People who did that had a 25% higher risk of CVD compared with those who went to bed between 10 p.m. and 10:59 p.m. People who fell asleep in the 11 o’clock hour had a 12% higher risk.
Think going to bed early when the kiddos do is best? According to the study, those who fell asleep before 10 p.m. had a 24% higher risk for heart disease.
“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,” says David Plans, one of the researchers, in a statement.
The findings do back up previous research that too little or too much sleep could be a factor in our health.
Translation: Sticking to the heart power hour could be better for you in the long-run. (Even if you take a coffee nap during the day.)
Why women have a higher risk of CVD
The CVD risk was higher in women, and the researchers aren’t sure why. It could be because of the way our endocrine system responds to circadian rhythm disruptions. Or age could have something to do with it, because cardiovascular risk rises after menopause.
“Sleep timing has emerged as a potential cardiac risk factor,” Plans said. And if more studies confirm these findings, we may see more of an emphasis on sleep hygiene as a low-cost way to decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, he adds.
Nagai M, Hoshide S, Kario K. Sleep duration as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease- a review of the recent literature. Current Cardiology Reviews. 2010;6(1):54-61. doi:10.2174/157340310790231635
Nikbakhtian S, Reed A, Dillon Obika B, Morelli D, Cunningham AC, Aral M, Plans D. Accelerometer-derived sleep onset timing and cardiovascular disease incidence: a UK Biobank cohort study. European Heart Journal - Digital Health. 2021. doi.org/10.1093/ehjdh/ztab088
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Know the Differences Cardiovascular Disease, Heart Disease, Coronary Heart Disease.
National Institute of General Medicine Sciences. Circadian rhythms.
University of Exeter. Going to sleep at 10pm linked to lowered risk of heart disease. Nov. 9, 2021.