Nov 29, 2021 - News

Scientists: Head to bed between 10 and 11pm

Four sleeping Z's that are getting progressively broken apart.
Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Going to sleep between 10pm and 11pm is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease compared to earlier or later bedtimes, per a new study in European Heart Journal — Digital Health.

Why it matters: While scientists have investigated the link between sleep duration and cardiovascular disease, the relationship between sleep timing and heart disease is largely under-explored.

How they did it: U.K. researchers tracked nearly 90,000 people between their early 40s and early 70s for sleep time, lifestyle habits and physical ability — and followed them over an average of six years for episodes of cardiovascular disease.

What they found: Compared to sleep onset from 10 to 11pm, there was a 25% higher risk of cardiovascular disease with a sleep onset at midnight or later, a 12% greater risk for 11pm to midnight, and a 24% increased risk for falling asleep before 10pm.

What they said: The results "suggest that early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health," study author David Plans of the University of Exeter said.

  • "The riskiest time was after midnight, potentially because it may reduce the likelihood of seeing morning light, which resets the body clock."

Yes, but: The key matter is not what time you go to bed, but that your habits are consistent, Stanley Wang, medical director at the sleep disorder center at the Heart Hospital of Austin, told the American-Statesman.

  • He suggested the link between sleep time and disease has less to do with the time of nodding off than the health habits of people who go to sleep at that hour.

Of note: Wang told the Statesman that getting out of that biological rhythm is stressful for the body — which is why during the transition to daylight saving time, there's a surge in heart attacks and car wrecks.

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