You’re likely aware of the strong connection between sleep and heart health. There is plenty of research to indicate how sleep duration and quality can impact your heart.
But a new finding has entered the mix: the time you fall asleep might also play a factor.
A new study has found that there might be a sweet spot for falling asleep. Falling asleep outside it, either before or after, may substantially boost the risk for heart disease.
The research, published in the European Heart Journal – Digital Health, indicates that going to bed between 10 PM and 10:59 PM coincides with the lowest risk for heart health. The risk went up by 12 percent for those with bedtimes between 11 PM and 11:59, and more than doubled to 25 percent for those going down at midnight or later.
It isn’t just the night owls who experience higher risk either. Researchers also found that people who fell asleep earlier than 10 PM had a 24 percent higher risk than those going to bed in the sweet spot.
This likely all has to do with circadian rhythm, the body’s 24-hour internal clock. And although the study did not prove that when a person falls asleep causes heart disease, it is plausible to believe that early or late bedtimes can disrupt the body clock and lead to heart problems.
What is particularly interesting is that researchers controlled for a variety of factors, including sleep duration, sleep irregularity, and being a night owl. Plenty of research, however, suggests sleep duration and quality are paramount in heart health.
According to these new findings, getting seven or eight hours of sleep appears less important than when you go to sleep.
The study also produced another interesting finding: women were far more susceptible to experience an increased risk for heart disease based on bedtime. Women are also more likely to experience stress, anxiety, and depression – all heart disease risk factors – that could be keeping them awake.
Keep in mind that this study does not prove bedtime causes heart disease. It does, however, provide an interesting link.