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Getting reliable sleep data

New research undertaken in the UK shows an apparent link between the time people get to sleep and their cardiovascular disease risk.  There has long been a belief that irregular sleep patterns could make cardiovascular disease worse. Until this study however, recording sleep patterns often relied on questionnaires or self reporting diaries, with uncertain accuracy.

By using data derived from accelerometers worn by over 88,000 individuals over a seven day period, more reliable sleep data was obtained.  This in turn enabled a better understanding of the impact of sleep on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in later life.

Study factors

The study looked at:

    • When individuals got to sleep
    • The differences between male and females
    • The ages of participants
    • Incidents of cardiovascular disease ~5 years later

The Findings

Prolonged misalignment of circadian rhythms is associated with elevated blood pressure, reduced sleep quality, increased risk for cardiovascular disorders and also stimulates atherosclerosis, providing a possible biological mechanism for increased cardiovascular risk. So quantifying the sleep-CVD link is an important task, the brief summary was:

    • Getting to sleep between 10pm and 11pm is optimal for reducing cardiovascular disease risk.
    • This is particularly true for women, who are more sensitive to sleep timing than men, but is also important for men.


CVD sleep study data

To read the full study, please visit the European Heart Journal here.

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