Getting to sleep at the same time each night helps the heart recover from the day and reduces the risk of heart disease, researchers have found.Leer más...
A stable bedtime routine helps the heart filter out stress hormones – so people with chaotic sleep patterns are at greater risk of heart problems.
The study may explain why people who work night shifts or travel between time zones are more likely to suffer from heart problems later in life.
Scientists found people who did not get enough sleep and stayed up too late at night had a raised pulse and increased levels of harmful stress hormones.
Experts believe getting enough sleep, at the same time each night, allows the heart to rejuvenate.
Doctors have long warned that a lack of regular sleep raises the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
But until now they have not been sure exactly why this is.
The new research, conducted by Northwestern University, Chicago, suggests allowing the heart to properly rejuvenate is key.
The research team believe this is strongly tied to an internal mechanism called the circadian rhythm.
Nearly all living things have this circadian rhythm or body clock - which synchronises bodily functions to the 24-hour pattern of the Earth’s rotation.
In humans, the clock is regulated by the bodily senses, most importantly the way the eye perceives light and dark and the way skin feels temperature changes.