Whether you need complete darkness and silence to settle into a slumber or prefer to fall asleep watching your favourite TV show, sleep habits have always been considered to be a deeply personal matter and down to preferences and body clocks.
However, a recent study that looked into the relationship between heart health and sleeping habits found there is actually an ideal time to be asleep in order to have improved heart health and, sadly for night owls like me, it’s not 2am.
The best time to go to bed
Scientists were hoping to find out if there was an optimal time for sleeping in relation to reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers surveyed 103,712 people over a period of seven days and, during this period, examined the relationship between the time people went to sleep and heart issues developing.
Overall, 3,172 cases of cardiovascular disease were reported during the follow up period of 5.7 years and the researchers found that those who went to sleep between 10pm and 11pm were at the lowest risk of developing the disease.
Bed times earlier than 10pm and later than 11pm were linked to an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.
They also found the relationship between cardiovascular disease and sleep onset time was stronger in females than males.
What is cardiovascular disease?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels. According to the NHS, the most common of these conditions are:
- Coronary heart disease
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Aortic disease
These are often caused by high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, a family history of CVDs and age.
The NHS also recommends that to avoid developing cardiovascular disease, people should cut down on smoking, drinking alcohol and unhealthy foods.
A balanced diet and regular exercise are recommended to reduce the risk of disease development.