Sunday, May 3, 2009

An Early Bedtime May Improve Your Heart Health

A new study shows that going to bed before midnight may be good for your health. You may be less likely to have hardened arteries.

The study involved 251 healthy men. They were all younger than 61 years of age. They had an annual check up to measure their health. They also reported their typical bedtime and sleep duration.

The men were put into three groups based on their self-reported sleep duration: less than six hours, six to seven hours, and seven hours or more. In each of these groups, the men who reported going to bed before midnight had more relaxed arteries.

“We speculate that going to bed late somehow disturbs our habitual, biological sleep patterns,” study author Dr. Yu Misao said in a
prepared statement. “We should consider getting our sleep habits as close to what our bodies biologically demand as much as possible.”

Misao noted that “arterial stiffness” is the first sign of hardening of the arteries. Having hardened arteries is also known as “atherosclerosis.”

reports that this form of heart disease occurs when plaque builds up on the inside of the arteries. These blood vessels carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart and other parts of the body.

Plaque build-up makes the arteries hard and narrow. This reduces the flow of blood to your organs. A heart attack, stroke or even death can result.

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