Not sticking to a regular bedtime and wake schedule, and different amounts of sleep each night, may lead to a higher risk for high cholesterol, hypertension and high blood sugar. Every hour of variability in time to bed and time asleep may be linked to a 27% greater chance of metabolic abnormality.

The title of the post is a copy and paste from the title and first paragraph of the linked academic press release here:

A new study has found that not sticking to a regular bedtime and wakeup schedule—and getting different amounts of sleep each night—can put a person at higher risk for obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, high blood sugar and other metabolic disorders. In fact, for every hour of variability in time to bed and time asleep, a person may have up to a 27% greater chance of experiencing a metabolic abnormality.

Journal Reference:

Huang, T., Redline, S.

Cross-sectional and prospective associations of actigraphy-assessed sleep regularity with metabolic abnormalities: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

Diabetes Care, 2019


DOI: 10.2337/dc19-0596


OBJECTIVE To cross-sectionally and prospectively investigate the association between irregular sleep patterns, a potential marker for circadian disruption, and metabolic abnormalities.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS In the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, participants completed 7-day actigraphy at exam 5 (2010–2013) and were prospectively followed throughout exam 6 (2016 to 2017). Sleep regularity was quantified by the 7-day SD of actigraphy-assessed sleep duration and sleep onset timing. Metabolic abnormalities were defined by 1) the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria and 2) a data-driven clustering of metabolic factors.

RESULTS In the exam 5 cross-sectional analysis adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors (n = 2,003), every 1-h increase in the sleep duration SD was associated with 27% (95% CI 1.10, 1.47) higher odds of metabolic syndrome, and every 1-h increase in the sleep timing SD was associated with 23% (95% CI 1.06, 1.42) higher odds. The associations remained significant, with additional adjustment for sleep-related factors including sleep duration. In the prospective analysis (n = 970), the corresponding fully adjusted odds ratio (OR) (95% CI) was 1.27 (0.97, 1.65) for sleep duration and 1.36 (1.03, 1.80) for sleep timing. Compared with the cluster of few metabolic changes, every 1-h increase in sleep variability was associated with almost doubled odds for the cluster characterized by incidence of multiple metabolic abnormalities (OR 1.97 [95% CI 1.18, 3.30] for sleep duration and OR 2.10 [95% CI 1.25, 3.53] for sleep timing).

CONCLUSIONS Increased variability in sleep duration and timing was associated with higher prevalence and incidence of metabolic abnormalities even after considering sleep duration and other lifestyle factors.

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