What’s the best time to fall asleep for your heart and why?

November 9, 2021
What's the best time to fall asleep for your heart and why?
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Whether you’re a night owl or an early riser, a new study suggests there’s one golden hour for everyone to start catching z’s. Researchers have discovered the best time for you to fall asleep to protect your heart and rest is between 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

A peer-reviewed study published Monday in the European Heart Journal analyzed the sleep and heart patterns of about 88,000 adults for six years. 

The data revealed a 12% greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease among those who went to sleep between 11 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. and a 25% higher risk among people who fell asleep at midnight or later. While adults who fell asleep earlier than 10 p.m. had a 24% increase in risk.

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Participants provided information about their demographics, lifestyles and physical health. The adults, most around the age of 61, wore accelerometers, devices that can record a person’s movements. For seven days, they wore the accelerometers on their wrist, and researchers collected the times of sleep and waking.

Near the six-year mark of the study, 3,172 of the participants experienced cardiovascular events including strokes, heart attacks or heart failure. The occurrences were most common among people with sleep times at or past midnight and lowest among those who fell asleep from 10 p.m. to 10:59 p.m.

Researchers factored the individuals’ age, gender, sleep duration, sleep irregularity, being an early bird or a night owl, smoking status, body-mass index, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and socioeconomic status. Overall, it was found consistent sleeping at or after midnight increased the person’s risk of heart disease. 

“The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning,” David Plans, a neuroscientist and experimental psychologist and co-author of the study, said in a statement to 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.”

The importance of sleep and the impact of changing our sleeping patterns continue to be studied. 

 A common habit of falling asleep after midnight, after deciding to stay up longer to binge-watch your favorite streaming show, is called revenge bedtime procrastination, and experts say this decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure time is actually doing more harm than good. 

And yes, you can die if you don’t get enough sleep, since it’s vital to your brain functions. As we sleep, various parts of our brain shut down, and that reduced power consumption reduces the swelling across our neurons. Without any sleep, toxins build up in our brain and can kill us within 200 hours.

“The paradox is that you’re really only hurting yourself,” says Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, a clinical psychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Although you might be motivated by taking back control over your time, you’re also taking away the valuable resource of sleep.”

Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda

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Life is like a running cycle right! I am a news editor at TIMES. Collecting News is my passion. Because my visitors have the right to know the truth and perfectly.

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