Lifestyle

Are you going to bed at the BEST time? Study reveals the sleep sweet spot for better health

It turns out, there is an ultimate time to go bed.

In fact, a new study has found that hitting the sack between 10pm and 11pm could result in a lower risk of developing heart disease.

However, those who go to bed later or go to bed earlier than these times had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sleep sweet spot - study reveals the BEST time we should be going to bed

Other study findings

Experts found that compared to those who fell asleep between 10pm and 10.59pm, there was a 12% greater risk for 11pm to 11.59 pm, and a 24% increased risk for falling asleep before 10pm.

Meanwhile, there was a 25% higher risk of cardiovascular disease associated with those falling asleep at midnight or later.

Interestingly, women had a stronger risk than men in the study.

Sleep sweet spot - study reveals the BEST time we should be going to bed

Study author Dr David Plans, of the University of Exeter, said: “The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning.

“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.”

Researchers factored in the participant’s 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.

5 ways to improve your sleep

5 tips to a good sleep

At the Healthy Mummy, we are all too aware of the importance of a good night’s sleep – a lack of sleep kills our motivation for one…!

We asked Health Expert Dr Ross Walker for his top tips on how to improve your sleep and here’s what he said……The quality of your sleep depends on the quality of your waking hours. During your waking hours it is important to look at these five features:
  • Nutrition
  • Your level of fitness
  • Your work habits
  • Any other underlying illnesses such as conditions leading to chronic pain, which may disturb your sleep
  • Your current psychological state

Preparation for sleep

Sleep sweet spot - study reveals the BEST time we should be going to bed

Activities to avoid before going to sleep:

  • Family or emotional problems including phone calls one hour before sleep.
  • Exercise two hours before sleep increases our body temperature and makes it more difficult to get off to sleep.
  • Eating two hours before sleep also releases a whole lot of hormones that can keep you awake.
  • Although alcohol may get you off to sleep, it profoundly affects your sleep patterns, as do stimulants, such as coffee and, of course, any illegal drugs. Alcohol and caffeine should be avoided at least three hours before you go to sleep and illegal drugs should, of course, stay illegal and should never be used by anyone.
  • Falling asleep in front of the television or with the radio on or with a light on.

Activities to encourage are:

  • Reading for a half hour before sleep.
  • In the half hour before sleep, a warm bath or a shower.
  • In the hour before sleep, a warm,  non-caffeinated based drink such as warm milk or chamomile tea.
  • Relaxation CDs or meditation.
  • Lovemaking, although a form of exercise, does release sleep-inducing chemicals, as opposed to other forms of exercise.

5 tips to sleeping well

The sleeping environment    

It is important to look at the feng shui of your bedroom. You should also see the bedroom for only two activities, sleeping and lovemaking and certainly have no electronics such as televisions, computers or fax machines anywhere near the bedroom.

Some people sleep with a mobile phone underneath or near their pillow and even the digital clock should be well away from the head.

Electromagnetic radiation can really disrupt sleep. It is always important to consider how comfortable your bed and pillows are. Your sleeping partner can certainly disrupt your sleep if they are snoring, have restless legs, have breathing problems or coughing.

What is happening outside the bedroom is also of importance. Some people live near a main road and they have excessive traffic noise.

There may be noisy animals or noisy neighbours causing sleep disruption. Of course, one of the big sleep killers is young children, especially young infants who can often disrupt a parent’s sleep throughout the evening.

The five “R’s” of the sleeping environment

  • Routine. Go to sleep and wake up at the same times. 70% of us are larks and 30% are night owls, i.e. the larks go to bed early, wake up early and the night owls go to bed late and wake up late.
  • Relaxed. Don’t go to bed stressed, e.g. following an argument.
  • Reducing temperature. It is important to go to sleep in a cool room and/or have a warm shower.
  • Relationships. Poor relationships at either home or at work can lead to poor sleep.
  • Ready. Know when your body is ready. Don’t go to sleep when you are wide awake as you certainly won’t be able to sleep well.

5 tips to sleeping well

Sleep disorders

  • Insomnia affects 20 – 30% of the population.
  • Sleep apnoea which is an extremely common condition that often requires medical assessment.
  • Specific sleep disorders such as restless legs, periodic limb movements and narcolepsy also require sleep specialist assessment.
  • Medical disorders such as cardiorespiratory disease; Chronic pain syndromes and other illnesses such as endogenous depression can also have a profound effect on sleep.
  • The specific categories of shift work and jet lag also need consideration here.

If you’d like to more about how to get your kids to sleep, then click HERE.

Research reveals a link between poor sleep and weight gain

Are you ready to kick-start your weight loss?

Want to shift your baby weight but feel like you have NO TIME in your day to exercise and eat healthily?

That’s where the Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge can help.

  • 28 days of at home exercise routines (no gym needed) – with video instruction
  • Customisable and breastfeeding friendly meal plans
  • Time-efficient exercises for busy mums – under 30 mins
  • Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)
  • Suitable for basic to advanced fitness levels.
  • Home to thousands of EASY-TO-MAKE recipes.

To find out more about joining the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.