Recent research at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC has added important new insights into the growing mound of evidence suggesting that going to sleep at a regular time is fundamentally connected to good cardiovascular health and proper metabolic functioning. Previous studies have also linked irregular sleep schedules with obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, examined the sleeping patterns of approximately 2000 individuals between the ages of 54 and 93, none of whom had any history of a sleep disorder. The researchers examined the link between their bedtime patterns and various markers of cardiometabolic risk. Using data collected from the sleep devices worn by the participants, the researchers were able to calculate a 10-year projected risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found clear evidence that individuals with irregular sleep patterns had a higher body mass index, higher blood sugar levels, higher blood pressure, and higher levels of hemoglobin A1c, which is related to diabetes. It was also determined that these individuals were far more likely to have a heart attack or stroke in the following 10 years than those individuals with regular, consistent sleeping patterns.
Further, in addition to the evidence that irregular sleep patterns are directly linked with a variety of physical ailments, it was noted that irregular sleep patterns were also linked with a higher risk of depression and stress disorders.
Lead author Dr. Jessica Lundsford-Avery, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, commented on the importance of her team’s findings, stating, “Heart disease and diabetes are extremely common in the United States, are extremely costly and also are leading causes of death in this country. To the extent we can predict individuals at risk for these diseases, we may be able to prevent or delay their onset.”
Dr Lundsford-Avery made it clear that whether irregular sleep patterns directly cause disease, or whether they form a vicious cycle with disease processes is unclear. But it is clear that making the effort to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day – even on weekends – is associated with good health.
Good sleep hygiene is just one of the ways we take care of our residents at Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ. Our care programs are designed specifically to meet the unique needs and interests of seniors and long-term care patients. We know that proper sleep is an important element of restorative care, which maximizes each patient’s potential to regain and maintain function and mobility.
Moreover, we foster an environment that is cheerful and enthusiastic, so residents truly relish and appreciate life. Our outstanding Social Services team works hard to ensure that every resident thrives socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
We promote a culture of independence, crucial for emotional, social, and physical health. Residents are encouraged to choose their activity and meal preferences, and to perform tasks and activities as self-sufficiently as possible.
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