Is there an ideal time to go to bed every night if you want to dodge heart disease?
Apparently, there is, claims a new study that found hitting the sack between 10 and 11 p.m. may be the ideal time to cut the risk for cardiovascular trouble.
The finding may be worth heeding, since the researchers also found that going to sleep before 10 p.m. or at midnight or later might raise the risk for heart disease by nearly 25%. The raised risk may be traced to the altering of the body’s circadian rhythm — its internal clock, the study authors say.
How does the circadian system affect your health?
“The circadian system controls daily behavioral and physiological rhythms. Disruption to the circadian rhythm has wide-ranging implications, resulting in poorer cognitive performance and increased risk for various physical and mental health conditions, including cardiovascular disorders,” lead researcher David Plans says.
The central clock in the brain controls the circadian rhythm throughout the body. This central clock is calibrated by exposure to light, particularly morning light, which is detected by receptors in the eyes, Plans explains.
“When this morning light is detected, the clock is recalibrated. Therefore, if a person goes to sleep very late, they might oversleep and miss this critical period of morning light,” he adds. “If this occurs over an extended period of time, the circadian rhythm will become disrupted. As a result, there will be effects on other behavioral and physiological rhythms, which can be detrimental to health.”
Plans cautions, however, that this study can’t prove that the time one goes to sleep causes heart disease, but it might, if confirmed, be a possible risk factor.
“These results highlight the importance of the body’s circadian rhythm and adds to the growing evidence showing increased health risks — including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and even cancer — when our daily schedules are