A recent study explores a connection between atherosclerosis, not maintaining a regular bedtime, and sleeping for inconsistent periods of time.
The study found that older people who varied sleep time by an average of two hours within a single week and those who changed their bedtimes by an hour and a half were significantly more likely to exhibit subclinical symptoms of atherosclerosis.
People who significantly varied their bedtimes by more than 90 minutes within a week had high levels of coronary artery calcium — compared with those who varied their bedtimes by 30 minutes or less.
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol, fatty deposits, and cellular waste products in your blood form sticky plaques on the insides of your arteries. The plaques thus thicken artery walls and can cause them to harden. The condition inhibits blood flow, preventing sufficient oxygen from being delivered to your organs.
According to the United States National Institutes of Health Trusted Source (NIH), half of Americans aged 45-84 have atherosclerosis without knowing it, and the disease linked to atherosclerosis is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The study appears in the Journal of the American Heart Association.