A new study presented at SLEEP 2023 emphasized that, in addition to getting sufficient sleep each night, adults should maintain a consistent sleep schedule with a regular bedtime and wake time.

Results show that adults with a regular sleep schedule and sufficient sleep duration had a 39% lower mortality risk than adults with an irregular sleep schedule and insufficient sleep duration. Analyses controlled for potential confounders such as socio-demographics, lifestyle, health status, and measures of major sleep disorders.

“Our study found that objectively regular sleepers tended to outlive objectively irregular sleepers regardless of major sleep disorder,” says lead author Joon Chung, PhD, who has a doctorate in sociology and is a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School and in the division of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, in a release. “Results suggest benefits of expanding the public conversation on getting ‘a good night’s sleep’ and broadening this goal to getting many good nights of sleep, in a row, on weekdays and weekends.”

Healthy sleep requires adequate duration, appropriate timing, good quality, regularity, and the absence of sleep disturbances or disorders. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommend that adults should sleep seven or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

The researchers analyzed data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Sleep Study, which involved 1,759 participants who were followed for a median of seven years. Sleep regularity and duration were classified using seven days of data gathered by wrist actigraphy. There were 176 deaths during the study period.

Chung emphasized that maintaining a regular bedtime and wake time is essential for healthy sleep.

“If sleep were an eight-hour pill, it would be beneficial to take the full dose at regular times, consistently,” he says in a release.

The research abstract was published in an online supplement of Sleep.

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