A new study finds that there is a spike in the number of heart attacks during the festive season – and on Christmas Eve in particular.

According to the Swedish study, there is a 37 per cent higher risk for heart attacks over the holidays – and there are 15 per cent more heart attacks on Christmas Eve than a typical day.

While heavy eating and drinking could be seen as a possible cause, the wide-ranging study looked at many major holidays and sporting events where people tend to eat and drink in excess – and the spike was not present.

Experts speculate that Christmas Eve could be an unusually stressful night for some, due to issues including spending time with family and blowing a budget.

Andreas Bergdahl, the director of the Concordia cardiovascular lab, had some advice.

“It’s more important what you do between New Year’s Eve and Christmas than what you do between Christmas and New Year’s Eve – if you understand what I mean. It’s more the long-term, You have to think about activity, exercise, what you eat. Try to reduce the amount of saturated fats you eat, salty foods,” he said.

Bergdahl also said that the level of activity is all based on age and ability.

“If all you can do is take a walk around the block, then do that. That’s great. Like what I do – I have a lot of fun going tobogganing with my kids. It’s a great workout. Cross-country skiing – take advantage of the winter sports. Skating, skiing, all of that,” he said.

Bergdahl also reminded people of the main signs of heart attack in both men and women. Don't look so much for that classic pain down the arms, he said, adding that instead, the focus should be on heavy pressure in the chest and intense fatigue. That combination is a big warning sign, said Bergdahl.

Watch Andreas Bergdahl’s interview above.