How to live longer: Going to sleep at a certain time may cut your risk of ‘killer disease’

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses heart disease

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Life expectancy has dipped slightly in the UK over the recent years, according to the Office for National Statistics. Many are now looking for a recipe for a longer and healthier life. One way to boost longevity could be to target leading deadly diseases, such as heart disease. And what’s an easier way to tackle it than sleep?

There are some obvious ways to lower your risk of developing heart disease.

From a healthy diet to regular exercise, lifestyle chances are a sure way to tackle the “killer”, the NHS explains.

But research now shows that it could be as simple as sleeping. As long as you stick to the right time, which researchers narrowed down to be between 10 and 11pm.

Not too early, not too late, calling it a day at this time may lower your risk.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal – Digital Health, looked at data from more than 88,000 participants from the UK Biobank.

The average age of the participants was recorded at 61 years, with the majority being women.

The researchers collected data on sleep and waking up time, using a wrist-worn accelerometer.

The evidence suggests that going to sleep between 10 till 11pm may cut your risk of heart disease compared to nodding off earlier or later at night.

The researchers also conducted a follow-up, finding that more than 3,000 participants developed some type of heart disease.

They defined cardiovascular diseases as heart attack, heart failure, chronic ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and transient ischaemic attack.

Incidence was highest in people who went to bed at midnight or later.

In fact, those who went to sleep at midnight or later saw a 25 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

However, the study can’t prove that going to bed earlier or later is contributing to the development of heart disease as it could be induced by different behaviours.

The data from the research was also adjusted for age, sex, sleep duration and irregularity as well as other lifestyle habits and health conditions.

Study author Dr David Plans said: “While we cannot conclude causation from our study, the results suggest that early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health.”

The doctor added that one possible reason behind the higher risk of the deadly disease linked to going to sleep later might be due to the lower likelihood of seeing the morning light.

Seeing the morning light helps to reset the body clock, the doctor explains.

He added: “While the findings do not show causality, sleep timing has emerged as a potential cardiac risk factor – independent of other risk factors and sleep characteristics.

“If our findings are confirmed in other studies, sleep timing and basic sleep hygiene could be a low-cost public health target for lowering the risk of heart disease.”

This means that dozing off during the optimal time window – between 10 and 11pm – may be one way to boost longevity.

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