When you hear the word “bedtime,” you probably think of young children getting ready to catch some zzzs. After all, we certainly remember tucking the kiddos into their covers at a certain time every night. And we might even vaguely remember being tucked in ourselves at a set hour by our parents. Though we eventually outgrow stringent night routines, new research shows that picking a bedtime might actually be pretty beneficial for adults, too.
The September 2018 study published in Scientific Reports analyzed 1,978 adults and their sleep patterns, as well as their heart health. Researchers found that folks with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher blood pressure, higher blood sugar, and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who went to sleep and woke up at the same times every day. Sadly, irregular sleepers were also more likely to report feeling depressed and stressed than regular sleepers.
While this may seem a bit alarming to those of us who don’t go to bed at the same time every day, it’s worth keeping in mind that the study did not prove that irregular sleep patterns cause all these issues; rather, the research showed a connection between irregular bedtimes and these potential problems.
"From our study, we can't conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep," said lead author Jessica Lunsford-Avery, PhD, in a press release. "Perhaps all of these things are impacting each other.”
That said, it’s valuable to keep in mind that the people who went to bed on a schedule did appear to benefit more than folks who were more on-and-off with their sleep times. Researchers also pointed out that of all the measurements taken in the study, sleep regularity was the best at predicting a person’s heart disease risk. So if you can, it might be a good idea to start a sleep schedule — and keep to it.
We can't think of a better reason to catch some great zzzs tonight!
Next, learn about the tastiest superfoods that can help you live longer in the video below: