Not just kids, even adults appear to benefit from a regular bedtime
Adequate sleep has been proven to keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But it’s not just an issue of logging at least seven hours a day.
A new study on sleep patterns suggests that a regular bedtime and wake time are just as important for heart and metabolic health among older adults.
In the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers found people with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher BP, higher blood sugar, and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years.
People with hypertension tended to sleep more hours, and people with obesity tended to stay up later.
The study included 1,978 older adults, and their sleep timings were tracked by devices so that researchers could learn whether even subtle changes – going to bed at 10:10 p.m. instead of the usual 10 p.m. – were linked to the health of participants. Their ages ranged from 54 to 93, and people with diagnosed sleep disorders such as sleep apnea were not included.
The study also tracked the duration of participants’ sleep and preferred timing. Of all three measures, however, regularity was the best at predicting someone’s heart and metabolic disease risk, the researchers found.
People with hypertension tended to sleep more hours, and people with obesity tended to stay up later. Irregular sleepers experienced more sleepiness during the day and were less active.
The findings show an association and not a cause-and-effect relationship between sleep regularity and heart and metabolic health.
“Perhaps there’s something about obesity that disrupts sleep regularity,” said Lunsford-Avery Ph.D., an assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the study’s lead author. “Or, as some research suggests, perhaps poor sleep interferes with the body’s metabolism which can lead to weight gain, and it’s a vicious cycle.”