Ever thought why a good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health? A new study has found that regular bedtime and wake time may help you revive yourself and boost your heart and metabolic health. The study found that people with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years than those who slept and woke at the same times every day.
People with irregularity in sleeping pattern were also more likely to report depression and stress than regular sleepers, suggests the study, published in the journal Scientific Report.
“From our study, we can’t conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep. Perhaps all of these things are impacting each other,” said lead author Jessica Lunsford-Avery, Assistant Professor at the Duke Health in Durham.
For the study, the research team involved 1,978 older adults aged between 54 and 93. They used devices that tracked sleep schedules to 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.
The study also tracked the duration of participants’ sleep and preferred timing — whether someone turned in early or was a night owl.
According to these measures, people with hypertension tended to sleep more hours, and people with obesity tended to stay up till late.
The team also found that people with irregular sleeping habit experienced more sleepiness during the day and were less active — perhaps because they were tired.
The researchers are planning to conduct more studies over longer periods in hopes of determining how biology causes changes in sleep regularity and vice-versa.