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According to the American Heart Association, coronary heart disease is responsible for one in every seven deaths in the United States. Someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds, and more than one person dies of a heart-related event every minute.
Science has told us about numerous ways to lower our risk of becoming a heart disease statistic, from exercise to eating habits to stress reduction.
We’ve learned that poor sleep can cause an increase in arterial plaque and blood vessel inflammation.
But here’s something else we’ve just found out about how our sleep habits can set us up for coronary disease
Apparently, picking just the right bedtime is just as crucial to protecting our hearts as the quality of our sleep or the number of hours of sleep we get.
Going to bed after midnight is really risky
According to recent research, there’s a very small window of time within which your bedtime should land — if you want to keep your risk of heart disease low.
A study published in the European Heart Journal found that you can lower your risk of heart disease by hitting the hay between 10 and 11 pm – not earlier, and not later.
Between 2006 and 2010, Dr. David Plans of the University of Exeter and his colleagues collected data on more than 88,000 men and women from the U.K. Biobank with an average age of 61.
The UK Biobank is a large, long-term study that looks at how genetics and environment each contribute to the development of disease.
The researchers gained information on when participants went to sleep and woke up by having them wear accelerometers on their wrists.
On an average follow-up of nearly six years, the data showed that, compared with falling asleep between 10 pm and 10:59 pm, there was:
- A 25 percent greater risk of cardiovascular disease for those going to sleep at midnight or later
- A 12 percent greater risk with sleep starting between 11 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
- A 24 percent greater risk with sleep starting before 10 p.m.
Respecting your circadian rhythm
Our circadian rhythm is our brain’s central clock. It controls things like when we sleep and wake, when we’re hungry and our moods. The circadian clock is calibrated by daylight, particularly morning light.
While Dr. Plans notes that more research is needed into why this particular hour of the night is ideal for setting our circadian clock, he does make note of some general rules for good sleep hygiene.
- Go to sleep at a reasonable hour and wake up early enough to get some time outside in the morning
- Avoid blue light at night (blue light comes from your cell phone and computer screen)
- No caffeine late in the day
- Avoid naps after about 4 pm
- Use the bedroom only for sleeping
- Only go to bed when you feel like you are ready to sleep
- Avoid eating a big meal or sweets, or drinking alcohol, right before bed
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
Accelerometer-derived sleep onset timing and cardiovascular disease incidence: a UK Biobank cohort study — European Heart Journal / Digital Health
What to know about circadian rhythm — Medical News Today
Light Pollution: Everything You Need to Know — EcoWatch