Going to bed at the same time consistently helps many people sleep better. Now, evidence suggests it also might protect their heart health.
Irregular sleep patterns, such as falling asleep at different times or having sleep duration variations of more than two hours, increase the risk of atherosclerosis.
Fatty deposits restrict arteries, decreasing blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients. A ruptured plaque may cause a blood clot and heart attack or stroke.
Researchers looked at the presence of plaque in the arteries. The research participants wore wrist devices to track their sleep and wakefulness.
Participants did a one-night in-home sleep study and maintained a sleep diary. Researchers examined arterial plaque.
Sleep lengths that varied by more than two hours per week were associated with greater coronary artery calcium scores and carotid plaque.
They were also more likely to have aberrant ankle brachial index findings, which evaluate systemic atherosclerosis and blood vessel stiffness.