Going to sleep between 10:00 and 11:00 pm is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease compared to earlier or later bedtimes, according to a study published today in European Heart Journal – Digital Health, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC)
“The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning,” said study author Dr. David Plans of the University of Exeter, UK. “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.”
While numerous analyses have investigated the link between sleep duration and cardiovascular disease, the relationship between sleep timing and heart disease is underexplored. This study examined the association between objectively measured, rather than self-reported, sleep onset in a large sample of adults.
The study included 88,026 individuals in the UK Biobank recruited between 2006 and 2010. The average age was 61 years (range 43 to 79 years) and 58% were women. Data on sleep onset and waking up time were collected over seven days using a wrist-worn accelerometer. Participants completed demographic, lifestyle, health and physical assessments and questionnaires. They were then followed up for a new diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, which was defined as a heart attack, heart failure, chronic ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and transient ischaemic attack.
During an average follow-up of 5.7 years, 3,172 participants (3.6%) developed cardiovascular disease. Incidence was highest in those with sleep times at midnight or later and lowest in those with sleep onset from 10:00 to 10:59 pm.
The researchers analysed the association between sleep onset and cardiovascular events after adjusting for age, sex, sleep duration, sleep irregularity (defined as varied times of going to sleep and waking up), self-reported chronotype (early bird or night owl), smoking status, body mass index, diabetes, blood pressure, blood cholesterol and socioeconomic status.
Compared to sleep onset from 10:00 to 10:59 pm, there was a 25% higher risk of cardiovascular disease with a sleep onset at midnight or later, a 12% greater risk for 11:00 to 11:59 pm, and a 24% raised risk for falling asleep before 10:00 pm. In a further analysis by sex, the association with increased cardiovascular risk was stronger in women, with only sleep onset before 10:00 pm remaining significant for men.
Release date: 09 November 2021
Source: European Society of Cardiology