Middle-aged people who have irregular bedtimes, such as shift workers, are twice as likely to develop heart disease, a study suggests.
Researchers found people aged 45 and above who have no regular bedtime, wake-up schedule or get different amounts of sleep each night are significantly more at risk of cardiovascular disease.
The findings, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, revealed that maintaining regular sleep patterns could help to prevent heart disease just as physical activity and a healthy diet do.
The five-year study of 1,992 men and women tracked sleep for seven consecutive days. During the follow-up five years later, 111 participants had suffered a heart attack, stroke or died from a heart disease related cause.
Participants with the most irregular sleep duration or timing had more than double the risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease linked event than those who had regular sleep patterns.
“We hope that our study will help raise awareness
about the potential importance of a regular sleep pattern in improving heart health.
It is a new frontier in sleep medicine.”
Epidemiologist Dr Tianyi Huang
Epidemiologist Dr Tianyi Huang, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US, said: “We hope that our study will help raise awareness about the potential importance of a regular sleep pattern in improving heart health. It is a new frontier in sleep medicine.”
The association between a lack of a sleeping schedule and heart disease was stronger with ethnic minorities, especially with African Americans than among whites, the Daily Mail reports.
Previous research has linked irregular sleep schedules to disease-causing abnormalities in body functions like changes in blood sugar and inflammation.
It also associated irregular sleep patterns to harmful metabolic changes linked with obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol.