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Many people sleep better when they go to bed at the same consistent time. There is now evidence that it may also protect heart health.
People with irregular sleep patterns, such as falling asleep at different times or varying in sleep times by 2 hours or more, are more likely. susceptible to arteriosclerosisAccording to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, it is a condition in which plaque builds up in the walls of arteries.
These fatty deposits narrow the arteries, reducing blood flow as well as the amount of oxygen and other nutrients in the body.Ruptured plaques can also create blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 2,000 adults aged 45 and older with an average age of 69. People in the study wore wrist devices that monitored wakefulness and sleep patterns. Participants also kept a sleep diary and completed an overnight home sleep study.
Researchers looked for the presence of plaque in the arteries. Those with sleep time variation of 2 hours or more in her week had higher scores measuring the presence of coronary artery calcium and were more likely to develop carotid plaque.
They were also significantly more likely to get abnormal results from systemic atherosclerosis and the ankle-brachial index, which measures vascular stiffness.
Coronary artery calcium scores were higher in those with irregular sleep timing.
In a summary of the study’s findings, lead author of the study, Kelsey Full, an assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Epidemiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said:
“Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and reducing sleep variability is an easily adjustable lifestyle that not only improves sleep but also helps reduce cardiovascular risk in older adults.”
Lack of sleep is associated with many health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- high blood pressure
- type 2 diabetes
The American Heart Association recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
To learn more about the importance of good sleep, see 7 Amazing Ways Lack of Sleep Makes Your Life Misery.