The winning combination? Go to sleep early and eat breakfast regularly. This is the habit that, more than any other, has been shown to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndrome in adults, especially aged 50 and over. This emerges from very recent research published in the journal Nutrients by a Korean team (Kim et al, Nutrients, Oct 2023).
Metabolic syndrome, what is it
Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which at least three of the following factors coexist, such as hypertension, elevated triglycerides, hyperglycemia, low good cholesterol and waist circumference greater than 102 cm in men and 88 in women. Metabolic syndrome can increase the long-term risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Hence the importance of counteracting it, also through some habits that we carry out every day, such as going to sleep and having breakfast. Until now, several studies have shown the importance of ensuring the right number of hours of sleep and a regular, high quality breakfast. However, no one had delved into the combination of these two factors, which is what the study we are talking about today does.
Early bed and regular breakfast, the combination that protects health
Scientists recruited 16,121 people, all adults over 19 years old. The volunteers were followed from 2016 to 2021, with continuous cheks to evaluate lifestyle and health. What has emerged is that the best combination, especially for adults over 50, to protect health and combat metabolic syndrome is to go to sleep early and eat breakfast regularly. Instead, the worst combination turned out to be going to sleep late and skipping breakfast, especially in men, who, following these habits over time, had a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Worthy of note is the fact that problems were also detected in those who had the habit of having breakfast regularly but went to sleep late, as in this way the right hours of fasting between one meal and another were not ensured, with an alteration of insulin and blood sugar levels.
Lifestyle has its say when it comes to health. The research we talked about today, although initial and to be expanded with further studies, has clearly shown that, for health purposes and to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and hence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, a good choice is to go to sleep early and eat breakfast regularly. This is especially true for adults over 50 and males, although these guidelines apply to everyone.