A new study has found that people with irregular sleep patterns are at a higher risk of heart disease and cardiovascular events such as stroke, coronary heart disease and congestive heart failure. Irregular sleep patterns are defined as night-to-night differences in duration of sleep, as well as the times at which a person went to bed and woke up. Because many of us likely experience these irregularities, it’s important to understand the risk and take action.
In the study, researchers used monitoring devices to track the sleep of nearly 2,000 people for seven days each, then followed each participant for about four years. None of the participants had heart disease at the start of the study. But during that time, 95 people experienced heart disease, heart failure or stroke, sometimes fatal.
Researchers found that people for whom time spent sleeping varied by more than two hours from night to night were 2.2 times more likely to suffer from some form of heart disease in the succeeding years. Those who had a varying bedtime of 90 minutes or more had double the heart disease risk.
So how can we improve our sleep? Doctors advise minimizing the use of mobile devices before bed. This is because the blue light from screens can interfere with sleep quality and regularity. Track your sleep using a wearable device or simply a journal to understand and improve your schedule.
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