Nov. 22, 2021— You might already know that getting enough sleep is important for your health—including your heart health. People who don't get enough high-quality sleep are more likely to develop heart issues. But does it matter when you get that sleep? It might. A new study by the European Society of Cardiologists suggests that your bedtime may play a role in your heart health.
The best time for bedtime
Researchers in the United Kingdom tracked more than 80,000 people over the course of a week, using wearable accelerometers to measure what time they fell asleep. Researchers then monitored the participants' heart health for five years. They found that people who fell asleep after 11 p.m. or before 10 p.m. were more likely to develop heart disease—particularly among women. This suggests that the best bedtime for your heart may be between 10 and 11 p.m.
While bedtimes were linked to heart disease risk, other factors could play a role. For example, participants did not have to note whether they had a family medical history of heart disease. Also, the study did not include many participants who worked night shifts.
How to sleep on schedule
Getting to bed on time can be a challenge. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 in 3 Americans isn't getting enough sleep. To get yourself on a healthy schedule, try these tips.
- Get enough exercise during the day—but don't schedule your workouts close to your bedtime.
- Turn off all screens at least a half hour before you plan to turn in. The light from electronic devices can make it harder for your brain to relax.
- Avoid eating too much or drinking alcohol late in the evening.
- Keep your bedroom quiet and cool. Try to do something relaxing right before bedtime.
- Stick to your sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Going to bed and getting up at around the same times every day can improve sleep quality.
Still having trouble shutting down? If you find yourself scrolling on your phone or flipping open your laptop, learn more about how reducing your screen time can lead to better sleep.