Going to bed during the ‘golden hour’ between 10pm and 11pm slashes the risk of developing heart disease, according to a major study.

Researchers discovered a correlation between sleeping late and higher risk for strokes, and especially among women.

According to University of Exeter, going to sleep after midnight can damage your heart because you are less likely see the morning sun. This disrupts the body’s natural clock.

The study examined data from over 88,000 British citizens aged 43 to 74.

The wrist watches were worn by participants for one week. They monitored when they fell asleep, woke up and answered any questions regarding their daily lives.

These records were compared to their five-year medical records, which included cases of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.

According to research, those who go to bed between 10 and 10.59 each night have the lowest risk of developing heart problems.

Researchers at the University of Exeter looked at data from more than 88,000 British adults between the age of 43 and 74. Participants wore wrist trackers for a week which monitored what time they fell asleep and woke up, and also answered questions about their lifestyles. The team found the lowest rate of heart problems was in those who went to sleep between 10pm and 10.59pm each night

Researchers at the University of Exeter looked at data from more than 88,000 British adults between the age of 43 and 74. The wrist watches were worn by participants for one week. They monitored when they fell asleep, woke up, as well as answering questions about how their life was going. Researchers found that people who went to bed between 10.59 and 10:59 each night had the lowest risk of developing heart disease.


You can help yourself fall asleep by following a bedtime routine.

It is not easy to keep to a strict schedule. While this may not be a significant problem for the majority of people, it is problematic for insomnia sufferers.

It all depends on your personal preferences, but it is important that you establish a routine and follow it.

Sleep at regular times

To begin with, you should sleep at regular hours. It helps the brain and body to become accustomed to a routine.

Adults need to sleep between 6-9 hours each night. A regular bedtime can be established by setting a time for you to get up each morning.

Also, it is important that you wake up every day at the same time. It may sound like a great idea to get some sleep in after a hard night but it can cause disruptions to your sleeping patterns.

Be sure to wind down

Preparing for bed is an important stage. You have many options for relaxing:

  • Warm, but not hot, baths will allow your body to reach the ideal temperature for relaxation.
  • Writing “to-do” lists can help you organize your thoughts and get rid of distractions.

Light yoga stretches or relaxation exercises can be helpful in relaxing the muscles. Avoid exercising vigorously as this will lead to the opposite result

Relaxation CDs use a well-written script and gentle, hypnotic music to help you relax.

Listening to music or reading helps you unwind and distract your brain.

There are many apps that can help you sleep. Visit the NHS Apps Library

Use smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices at night. It is best to avoid using them for about an hour prior to going to bed.

You can make your bedroom more comfortable for sleeping.

A bedroom should have a peaceful environment. Experts say there is an association between sleeping and your bedroom.

However, some factors can make this relationship less strong, like TVs or other electronic gadgets as well light and noise and bad mattresses.

Your bedroom should be reserved for sleeping and sex. Sex is a more relaxing activity than most other vigorous activities. It has developed over many thousands of years.

Ideal bedroom conditions include a dark and quiet space, tidy appearance, and a temperature between 18C to 24C.

If you do not already have curtains that are thick, consider installing them. Consider double glazing if noise is bothersome. If this happens, you can also use earplugs.

Keep a sleep diary

A sleep log can prove to be an excellent idea. This could help you identify lifestyle and daily habits that can contribute to sleeplessness.

Your GP will likely ask for a log to aid in diagnosing your sleeping problems.

Also, a sleep diary could reveal other factors that may be contributing to your insomnia.

Source: NHS 

Heart problems are more likely to develop in those who go to bed at night.

The risk of falling asleep before 10PM was 24% higher than those who fell asleep between midnight and 11pm. Rates were 11% higher for those who slept from 12 to midnight.

The research, published in the European Heart Journal, concluded that encouraging people to maintain a regular bedtime could help prevent cases of heart disease at ‘minimal cost’.

Lead author Dr David Plans said: ‘The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning.

‘The results suggest that early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health.’ 

Dr Plans said: ‘Our study indicates that the optimum time to go to sleep is at a specific point in the body’s 24-hour cycle and deviations may be detrimental to health.

‘The riskiest time was after midnight, potentially because it may reduce the likelihood of seeing morning light, which resets the body clock.’ 

According to the study, the strongest link between heart disease risk and bedtime was found in women. This may have been due to hormone differences or the menopause.

While men who stay up until midnight were not at risk for developing ill health, those who go to bed after 10pm are more susceptible to having heart disease.

Dr Plans said: ‘It may be that there is a sex difference in how the endocrine system responds to a disruption in circadian rhythm.

‘Alternatively, the older age of study participants could be a confounding factor since women’s cardiovascular risk increases post-menopause – meaning there may be no difference in the strength of the association between women and men.’ Research shows that decreased oestrogen levels after the menopause increase women’s risk of heart disease.

According to the study, encouraging millions to go to sleep before 11pm can reduce heart disease risk.

Dr Plans said: ‘While the findings do not show causality, sleep timing has emerged as a potential cardiac risk factor – independent of other risk factors and sleep characteristics.

‘If our findings are confirmed in other studies, sleep timing and basic sleep hygiene could be a low-cost public health target for lowering risk of heart disease.

‘Sleep timing would be an attractive target for interventions to reduce CVD risk owing to its minimal cost and invasiveness. 

‘This intervention could take the form of public health guidance, structured intervention programmes, or technology-based solutions such as smartphone apps.’ 

Around 160,000 British people die annually from cardiovascular disease.

Regina Giblin, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘This large study suggests that going to sleep between 10 and 11pm could be the sweet spot for most people to keep their heart healthy long-term.

‘However, it’s important to remember that this study can only show an association and can’t prove cause and effect. Further research on sleep timing and duration is required to understand the risk factors that can lead to heart disease and circulatory problems.

‘Getting enough sleep is important for our general wellbeing as well as our heart and circulatory health, and most adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

‘But sleep isn’t the only factor that can impact heart health. It’s also important to look at your lifestyle as knowing your numbers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, cutting down on salt and alcohol intake, and eating a balanced diet can also help to keep your heart healthy.’