(NaturalNews) We all have that hunch that going to sleep after midnight feels bad for some reason, but we just can`t put our finger on it. Now you have the answer, and if you love being awake after midnight, it isn`t good news! A recent study shows that men who go to bed after midnight show increased hardening of the arteries compared to men who go to sleep earlier.
So Misao and co-workers from the Misao Health Clinic in Gifu, Japan conducted a study of 251 healthy men who were 61 years and younger. They had annual checkups where their blood pressure, body weight, body mass index, waist circumference and lipid levels were recorded.
The men were split into three groups depending on how much sleep they got each night. The groups were less than six hours, six to seven hours, and seven hours or more. In every group the men who said they went to sleep before midnight had more relaxed arteries than the men who went to sleep after midnight. "While the study doesn`t tell us why, a previous study suggests that people who go to bed late might eat more at night," says Yu Misao, MD, of the Misao Health Clinic in Gifu, Japan. Evening snacking may raise the risk of obesity, a risk factor for heart disease, he says. Dr. Misao also said that they think it is possible that going to bed late can disturb the body`s rhythm and therefore disturb the body`s hormonal balance. Other research also suggests that going to sleep after midnight can activate the sympathetic nervous system which determines how we respond to stress.
What this study is lacking is that people are different, just going to bed early or late is not a determining factor when you do not know the eating, exercise and mental habits of the people involved. "People who go to bed late are different from people who go to bed early. They may be more likely to smoke. They may be more likely to drink. They may be more likely to overeat. These are all heart disease risk factors that weren`t taken into account in the analysis," Daniel Jones, MD, former president of the American Health Association said to WebMD. At this point he would not recommend any changes in sleep behavior based on this study alone. Dr. Misao agrees that further research and studies are needed before any significant results can be attained.
If you want to prevent cardiovascular disease you have to not only consider sleep, but also what you put in your body and how much and how well you exercise. All these factors are crucial to your health and are all a part of a bigger picture which we all must try to paint as bright as possible. This study will be presented at the American College of Cardiology`s 58th Annual Scientific Session.