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Get to sleep before 11pm to reduce heart disease risk

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It’s the Goldilocks time for sleep: nod off between 10pm and 11pm and you’ll lower your chances of heart disease.

Falling asleep either side of the ‘sweet spot’ hour doubles your risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and that’s especially true if you’re a woman.

The greatest risk is among those who don’t fall asleep until after midnight, and it’s all to do with our body clock.  Falling asleep that late probably means you aren’t awake to see the sun rise, and so your body clock can’t adjust to the new day.

Respecting our body clock rhythms is the key to maintaining good health, say researchers from the University of Exeter.   They tracked the sleeping patterns of more than 103,000 people who wore a fitbit-type watch while they slept.  During the following six years, 3,172 participants were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cases were greatest among those who didn’t sleep until after midnight, and lowest in those who were asleep between 10pm and 11pm.

Those who fell asleep after midnight had a 25 percent higher risk of CVD, while those who were asleep before 10pm were 24 percent more likely to develop heart problems. The risk for those asleep between 10pm and 11pm was just half that, at 12 percent.

(Source: European Heart Journal, 2021; ztab088; doi.org/10.1093/ehjdh/ztab088)

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