Study shows a good night’s sleep could help with signs of ageing

A new study has found that having a consistent and steady sleep schedule can help slow down the biological ageing process.

The research, published in the journal Sleep Healthlast month, concluded that those who had inconsistent sleeping patterns had a higher biological age compared to those with a regular sleep schedule.

While biological age tests can be controversial, one expert said they are an astute indication of the amount of “damage” that has gone on inside of your body, New York Post reported.

The test aims to measure the rate at which your body is ageing by examining how old your cells are.

In this study, researchers from Augusta University, in the US state of Georgia, looked at the sleep patterns of more than 6000 participants from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey taken during the years 2011 to 2014.

In the survey, participants, who had an average age of 50, wore a sleep tracker for four to seven days, which logged the amount of time they slept and other markers, like regularity, according to Earth.com.

Participants also answered a questionnaire pertaining to their lifestyle habits.

In order to determine participants’ biological ages, the scientists analysed their blood samples, which gave way to various markers of their health, like cholesterol levels, diabetes and kidney disease.

About 65 per cent of the study’s participants slept for seven to nine hours per night, while 16 per cent slept under seven hours. A small amount, 19 per cent, slept over nine hours.

While being observed, they noticed that, on average, participants got an extra 78 minutes of sleep on the weekend, and their bedtimes only varied by 60 minutes each night.

They found that people who had the biggest differences in their bedtimes and amount of sleep they got during the week compared to the weekend had the highest biological age.

They specifically discovered that people who were the most flexible and loose in their sleep schedules had a biological age that was nine months older than those who had a consistent schedule.

“We found that larger sleep variability, more catch-up sleep, larger sleep irregularity and more social jet lag were associated with more advanced biological ageing, as measured by the three algorithms based on clinical markers,” the study’s authors wrote.

The authors claimed that this is the first study of its kind measuring sleep and its relationship to biological ageing.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, a lack of consistent sleep can also affect your heart health, as it can take a toll on your stress hormones, which, in turn, can cause an increase in blood pressure.

It can also impact cognitive abilities and mental health.

The study’s authors also noted that there is a correlation between sleep patterns and living a long, healthy life.

“Since day-to-day deviation in sleep is a modifiable behavioural factor, our finding suggests that intervention aiming at increasing regularity in sleep patterns may be a novel approach for extending a healthy life span,” the study’s authors wrote.

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and reproduced with permission

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