A new study on sleep patterns suggests that a regular bedtime and wake time are just as important as sleep quantity in terms of heart and metabolic health among older adults.
In a study of 1,978 older adults published online Sept 21 by the journal Scientific Reports, researchers at Duke Health and the Duke Clinical Research Institute found 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.
Irregular sleepers were also more likely to report depression and stress than regular sleepers, both of which are tied to heart health.
African-Americans had the most irregular sleep patterns compared to participants who were white, Chinese-American, or Hispanic, the data showed.
The findings show an association—not a cause-and-effect relationship—between sleep regularity and heart and metabolic health.
“From our study, we can’t conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep,” says Jessica Lunsford-Avery, PhD, an