Irregular Sleep Patterns May Increase Risk for Metabolic Syndrome

An overweight man sleeping
An overweight man sleeping
Variability in sleep duration and timing is associated with higher odds of metabolic syndrome.

HealthDay News — Variability in sleep duration and timing is associated with higher odds of metabolic syndrome, according to a study published online June 5 in Diabetes Care.

Tianyi Huang, Sc.D., and Susan Redline, M.D., M.P.H., both from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, examined the correlation between irregular sleep patterns and metabolic abnormalities among participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Seven-day actigraphy was completed from 2010 to 2013 (2,003 participants), and 970 participants were followed prospectively through 2016 to 2017.

In a cross-sectional analysis adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, the researchers found that every one-hour increase in the sleep duration standard deviation (SD) correlated with 27 percent increased odds of metabolic syndrome (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.10 to 1.47), while each one-hour increase in sleep timing SD correlated with 23 percent increased odds (95 percent CI, 1.06 to 1.42). With additional adjustment for sleep-related factors, including sleep duration, the correlations remained significant. The corresponding fully adjusted odds ratios were 1.27 (95 percent CI, 0.97 to 1.65) and 1.36 (95 percent CI, 1.03 to 1.80) for sleep duration and sleep timing, respectively, in the prospective analysis. Four metabolic clusters were identified in the prospective sample; every one-hour increase in sleep variability correlated with increased odds for the cluster characterized by incidence of multiple metabolic abnormalities (odds ratios, 1.97 [95 percent CI, 1.18 to 3.30] for sleep duration and 2.10 [95 percent CI, 1.25 to 3.53] for sleep timing).

“Maintaining a regular sleep schedule has beneficial metabolic effects, which may enrich current prevention strategies for metabolic disease that primarily focus on promoting sufficient sleep and other healthy lifestyles,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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