Slumber is Good for the Heart!
Rest can do miracles for the body and can improve overall health. When we talk of rest, we obviously associate it with sleep, an important part of everyone’s life. But most people don’t know that our heart needs rest to repair itself.
Yes, it’s true that our heart needs restorative sleep to function well and to repair itself. This means not only talking about the recommended number of hours, but also a rest coupled with fasting, which means no food consumed around this sleeping period.
This new key finding was based on the study using animal models by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The study shows that the heart replaces damaged proteins during the sleep period, and if food is consumed during this time, the mechanisms responsible for the replacement of damaged proteins is stopped.
“Imagine that once a week you take out the trash, and then suddenly you stop taking out the trash on that day; it will build up in your house, and your home will be dysfunctional,” said co-author and Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease Martin Young, Ph.D., “Our findings suggest that eating during the sleep phase prevents the heart from ‘taking out the trash,’ which we speculate might be one reason the heart becomes dysfunctional when food is eaten late at night.”
The heart functions as a pump in the circulatory system to provide a continuous flow of blood throughout the body. It supplies oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removes carbon dioxide and other waste.
Possible Link of Fasting To Cardiovascular Health
The researchers launched a probe on temporal response of the heart to fasting and the metabolic effects of fasting during the normal sleep hours.
The results showed that when animals were forced to eat at the wrong time of day, the heart lost the rhythms in mechanisms known to be critical for removal (autophagy) and replacement (synthesis) of damaged proteins.
“The heart seems to be set up to repair itself when an animal sleeps,” Young said. “When eating at the wrong time of day, the heart switches off its nighttime repair.”
The results gave the researchers a new idea on how specific interventions – like intermittent fasting – reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
“Understanding how the heart regulates important processes such as autophagy and protein synthesis across the time of day, and how they are influenced by fasting, might help develop new interventions that could reduce heart disease,” Chatham said. “These studies are also important because there is a vast amount of interest in the effects of fasting on cardiovascular health, that other researchers need to know the impact of time of day when studying both animals and humans.”