For centuries, parents and caregivers have known about the importance of a regular bedtime for children. The importance of consistency in healthy sleep routines for adults has become more aware of much more recently. Being constant in our practices has various benefits, just as irregular sleep can contribute to chronic health problems.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a lack of sleep can heighten the risk of anxiety, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, mood disorders, obesity, and other conditions. Studies have found that inadequate sleep also can lead to memory loss.
With that in mind, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study that found 1 in 3 American adults don’t get enough sleep is alarming. According to the CDC, adults need approximately 7 hours of sleep every night.
The Benefits Of Consistency
A study published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2018 confirmed the benefits of regular bedtimes for children. The study found that children with healthy bedtime routines outperformed other participants in attention, cognitive flexibility, inhibition, executive function, and working memory tests. Furthermore, their dental health was in better condition, and they exhibited greater readiness for school.
Despite the apparent benefits of consistency in practicing healthy sleep routines, many children ditch the regular earlier bedtime as soon as they’re old enough. Some adults may even have accepted the idea that getting enough sleep regularly is suitable only for children. However, science says otherwise. Consistent sleep routines are ideal for adults, too.
About The Study
According to research published in Scientific Reports, consistent sleep routines could be as crucial as getting the recommended amount of sleep every night. Jessica Lunsford-Avery, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, was the lead study author.
In a Healthline interview, Prof. Lunsford-Avery explained that the team used devices to accurately track participants’ sleep schedules. The researchers went beyond the participants’ bedtimes. Instead, they examined their sleep-wake patterns minute-by-minute over 24-hour periods. They evaluated the effects of their preferred sleep timing and the duration and regularity of their sleep. As in other studies on the impact of sleep, the researchers found a link between irregular sleep and chronic health problems.
Prof. Lunsford-Avery elaborated that the risk of higher blood sugar levels, hypertension, obesity, and developing heart disease within a decade increased with participants’ sleep patterns irregularly. It’s not all bad news, as the assistant professor said the research suggested that consistency in practicing healthy sleep routines could benefit your health.