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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

University at Buffalo: Getting a Good Night’s Rest is Important for Better Bone Health

Getting five or fewer hours of sleep a night is associated with low bone mineral density (BMD) and higher odds of osteoporosis, according to the largest study of sleep and BMD to date among U.S. postmenopausal women.

“Our study suggests sleep may negatively impact bone health, adding to the list of the negative health impacts of poor sleep,” said lead author Dr. Heather Ochs-Balcom, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, focused on 11,084 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative. Women who self-reported sleeping five hours or less per night had significantly lower bone mineral density at four sites — whole body, hip, neck and spine — compared to women who slept seven hours a night. The difference they observed is equivalent to one year of aging.

Poor sleep is linked to a number of adverse health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The body undergoes an array of healthy processes during sleep, including bone remodeling, during which old tissue is removed and new bone tissue is formed.

“There’s a rhythm throughout the day. If you are sleeping less, one possible explanation is that bone remodeling isn’t happening properly,” Dr. Ochs-Balcom said.

The current study is a follow-up to research the team published last year that found that women who had short sleep were more likely to sustain a fracture.

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