People who go to bed after midnight are 25 percent more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than fall asleep between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., according to extensive research conducted on nearly 90,000 people by scientists at the UK’s University of Exeter. harmful.
“The body has a 24-hour internal clock called the circadian rhythm that helps to regulate physical and mental functioning,” said Dr. David Plans, author of a publication in The European Heart Journal – Digital Health. While we cannot draw conclusions about the causes and effects, the results show that going to bed early or late can disrupt the biological clock, with negative consequences for cardiovascular health, he adds.
Scientists analyzed data on nearly 90,000 people registered in the UK Biobank program. They took into account, inter alia, information on health, lifestyle, fitness and sleep observation results using wrist-worn accelerometers.
During nearly six years of subsequent observation of participants, 3.6 percent of them (over 3,000) developed cardiovascular disease.
When is the best time to go to bed?
After adjusting for various factors including age, gender, sleep duration, regularity, chronotype, smoking, weight, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and socioeconomic status, there was a clear relationship with the time of falling asleep. People who fell asleep after midnight had a 25% risk of cardiovascular disease. higher than in people falling asleep between 22 and 22.59. Participants going to bed between 23 and 23.59 they had a risk of 12 percent. higher, and falling asleep before 22 – by 24 percent
Subsequent analysis also indicated that going to bed late particularly harmed women, and falling asleep too early had a greater effect on men.
– Our research shows that the optimal time to fall asleep is at a specific point in the 24-hour cycle and deviations from it may be harmful to health. The most risky time is shortly after midnight, perhaps because it reduces the possibility of exposure to the morning light that is set by the biological clock, says Dr Plans.
As for the differences between the sexes, it is difficult to explain yet. The reason may lie in differences in the endocrine system’s response to disturbances in circadian rhythms, researchers speculate. On the other hand, the results may have been influenced by the late age of the participants due to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women.
– This would mean that there are no differences in the strength of the correlation between men and women – explains the expert. While the results do not show a cause-effect relationship, the time to fall asleep appears to be a potential risk factor for heart disease, independent of other factors and sleep characteristics. If our results are confirmed in other studies, falling asleep time and basic sleep hygiene could serve as inexpensive methods of lowering the risk of heart disease in society, the researcher says.
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