Sleep Scientists Show Why Adults Should Have a Bedtime
One of the joys of adulthood is that you can go to bed and wake up whenever you want to. But, like most seemingly good things, that indulgence can really screw you over. Late night Netflix and early morning work interferes with the healthy, lovely things that regular sleep can do. According to a study released Friday in Scientific Reports, you need to go back to having a proper bedtime.
That’s because irregular sleep can do far more than make you cranky. In this study, researchers from Duke University Medical Center analyzed the sleeping patterns, physical health, and mental health of 1,978 adults and found an association between sleep regularity and better heart and metabolic health. While this study can’t conclude definitively that bad sleep is causing bad health, there’s certainly a link. Overall, people with irregular sleep patterns were more likely to weigh more, have a heart attack or stroke, and have higher blood sugar and blood pressure than people who sleep and wake up at a consistent time.
Study co-author, clinical psychologist, and professor Jessica Lunsford-Avery, Ph.D., tells Inverse that while researchers can’t conclude that irregular sleep and wake patterns result in a risk for heart disease and diabetes, there are likely some processes by which these patterns contribute to those health risks.
“In our study, individuals with more irregular sleep and wake times tended to be less physically active, more stressed, and more depressed — all of which could contribute to poorer hearth and metabolic health,” Lunsford-Avery says. “In addition, prior studies have shown that poor sleep may interfere with metabolism, which may also contribute to obesity and risk for heart disease.”