Taking aspirin before retiring to bed could cut the risk of suffering a heart attack in the morning, says a new study.
A trial involving 290 heart attack patients had shown that taking just one 100mg tablet before turning in was more effective than taking it in the morning.
According to researchers platelet levels were lower in patients who took the painkiller, which thinned the blood and prevented clotting at night.
Platelets, which led to the formation of blood clots, tended to reach their peak in the morning, meaning that the risk of heart attack was often at its highest shortly before or just after waking up.
However, according to the findings of researchers at the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, taking aspirin before bed could lower the peak.
They found that it was around 22 units lower if taken prior to going to bed.
Tobias Bonten, one of the researchers who led the study, said, higher platelet activity contributed to a higher risk of acute heart events.
He added the simple intervention- switching aspirin intake from morning to bedtime – could be beneficial for the millions of patients with heart disease who took aspirin on a daily basis.
According to a British expert, more research into the idea was needed.
According to Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, it was known that aspirin could be vital in reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
She added, research into the best time to take a daily dose of aspirin was an interesting idea, but much larger and longer studies were needed before a change in practice could be recommended.
She said for now, patients needed to keep taking their daily aspirin as recommended by their doctor, and if they had any concerns about their medication, they needed to talk to their GP.
Previous research pointed to the protective benefits of aspirin and one study showed that heart patients who stopped taking prescribed aspirin were two-thirds more likely to suffer another attack.
People with a history of heart disease who took low-dose aspirin for preventing blood clotting but then stopped ran a 60 per cent higher risk of non-fatal seizures, which was irrespective of the length of time they had been taking the drug.