Best bed time for your heart

Sleep Cycles and Stages

The Basics

What: A review of the studies to date investigating the relationship between objectively assessed sleep parameters and CVD risk.

Source: European Heart Journal – Digital Health, Volume 2, Issue 4, December 2021.

Great For: Sleep Improvement, Relaxation, Emotional Health, Anxiety Prevention. Health Improvement, Better Sleep, Cardiovascular health, UK Biobank, Digital health, Circadian rhythm


Are you a night owl or an early riser and not sure what time to go to sleep is best for your mind and body? A new study by the European Heart Journal, suggests there’s one golden hour for everyone who is looking to improve their health.

Researchers have discovered the best time for you to fall asleep to protect your heart and rest is between 10 and 11 p.m. Studies analyzed the sleep and heart patterns of about 88,000 adults for six years.

The data revealed a 12% greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease among those who went to sleep between 11 and 11:59 p.m. and a 25% higher risk among people who fell asleep at midnight or later. Adults who fell asleep earlier than 10 p.m. had a 24% increase in risk.

Participants provided information about their demographics, lifestyles, and physical health. The adults, most around the age of 61, wore accelerometers, devices that record a person’s movements. For seven days, they wore the accelerometers on their wrist, and researchers collected the times of sleep and waking.

Near the six-year mark of the study, 3,172 of the participants experienced cardiovascular events including strokes, heart attacks or heart failure. The occurrences were most common among people with sleep times at or past midnight and lowest among those who fell asleep between 10 and 10:59 p.m.

Researchers factored in the individuals’ age, gender, sleep duration, sleep irregularity, being an early bird or a night owl, smoking status, body-mass index, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and socioeconomic status. Overall, they found consistent sleeping at or after midnight increased the person’s risk of heart disease. Of course, if you do not have a broken sleep every night. 

“The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning,” David Plans, a neuroscientist and experimental psychologist and co-author of the study, said in a statement to NBC News. “While we cannot conclude causation from our study, the results suggest that early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health.”

The importance of sleep and the impact of changing our sleeping patterns continue to be studied. 

A common habit of falling asleep after midnight after, say, deciding to stay up longer to binge-watch your favourite streaming show, is called revenge bedtime procrastination, and experts say this decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure time is actually doing more harm than good. 

Some of us ask if can you die from not getting enough sleep and yes, you can die if you don’t get enough sleep since it’s vital to your brain functions. As we sleep, various parts of our brain shut down, and that reduced power consumption reduces the swelling across our neurons. Without any sleep, toxins build up in our brain and can kill us within 200 hours.

“The paradox is that you’re really only hurting yourself,” says Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, a clinical psychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Although you might be motivated by taking back control over your time, you’re also taking away the valuable resource of sleep.”

What are sleep cycles and stages of sleep?

While sleeping, our brains go through several sleep cycles. An average person needs 5-6 cycles to feel fully regenerated in the morning. One sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes and consists of 5 stages: the first four stages are non-REM stages, where stages 1 and 2 are known as light sleep stages, stage 3 (and 4 in the previous definition) are deep sleep stages, and the last one is REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

  • Normally, the best option is to lie down at 11:33 PM – that fulfills the 5 cycles condition (7h 30m).
  • For some people, 6 hours sleep is enough – if that’s you, go to bed at 1:03 AM, and you’ll have 4 full cycles of sleep (6h).

It all depends on what time you want or have to wake up. 

To summarize, you can also observe your body clock and see what cycle of hours length works for you best. Pay attention to how you feel when you wake up, the energy level in the morning and evening, the emotions, body all according to your lifestyle. 

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