Strong Link Between Irregular Sleep Time With Obesity, Diabetes, High Cholesterol
Sleep apnea, and delayed sleep phase disorder are two frequent reasons behind irregular bedtime schedule

A new study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) shows that not following a regular sleep/wake cycle and having a variating amounts of sleep in long-term can put a person at higher risk for obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, high blood sugar, and other metabolic disorders.

Many studies have shown the relationship between having insufficient sleep and a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders, but until now we didn't know how much irregular sleep time can be impactful in exposing to these disorders.

For this study 2,003 men and women, in ages between 45 and 84, participated in the NHLBI-funded Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Participants studied for the median of six years to find the link between irregular sleep/wake cycle and metabolic abnormalities.

To ensure objective measurement of sleep duration and quality, participants wore actigraph wristwatches to closely track the sleep schedule for seven consecutive days. They also kept a sleep diary and responded to the standard questionnaire on sleep habits and other lifestyle and health factors. Actigraphy tracking was held between 2010 and 2013 and was followed in 2016 and 2017.

Participants with higher variation in sleep time (more than one hour) were more likely to be American-Africans, work non-day shift schedules, smoke, and have shorter sleep duration. They also had a higher total caloric intake, depression symptoms, and index of sleep apnea.

Our results suggest that maintaining a regular sleep schedule has beneficial metabolic effects.” - says Susan Redline, M.D., senior physician in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Bottom line

Irregular sleep time increases the risk of metabolic abnormalities such as obesity and diabetes. It is recommended to stick to a regular sleep/wake cycle to enhance sleep quality and having a healthy life.

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