New Study: Disturbed sleep is worse than less sleep

Whether you’re a college student dealing with a roommate from hell, a parent who wakes up to mini-people giving you the zombie stare, or an older adult who constantly has to make late-night bathroom runs due to tea overindulgence, guess what? Sleep disturbances are not going to help you live a longer life!

The Journal of Sleep came out with a new study on the impacts of disturbed sleep compared to shorter sleep duration on various physiological and psychological measures. The researchers found that disturbed sleep, characterized by frequent awakenings and restless sleep, was associated with worse outcomes than shorter sleep duration.

Participants with disturbed sleep had higher levels of oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood pressure, as well as poorer cognitive performance and subjective well-being. These findings suggest that the quality of sleep, specifically the presence of disturbances, may be more important than the actual duration of sleep for overall health and well-being.


The recent study conducted on 60,977 participants from the UK Biobank sheds light on the importance of sleep regularity for overall health. The average age of participants was just under 63 years old, and within a span of less than eight years, 1,859 individuals had passed away. The findings of the study showed a striking correlation between higher sleep regularity and a significant decrease in the risk of mortality from various causes.

Specifically, participants with more consistent sleep patterns demonstrated a 20-48% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 16-39% lower risk of cancer mortality, and a 22-57% lower risk of cardiometabolic mortality. This last category includes conditions like Type 2 diabetes, inflammation, and obesity-related complications.

Consistent sleep patterns have been linked to a decreased risk of dying prematurely, as discovered in previous research. To further understand the importance of sleep, scientists have found that adults generally require around seven to eight hours of sleep per night. However, this number can vary depending on age, with younger individuals needing more sleep and older adults requiring slightly less.

So, what can you do?

This new study has emphasized the significance of a stable sleep schedule. Researchers found that individuals who consistently slept for six hours each night were likely in better health compared to those who slept for eight hours but had irregular sleep patterns. It appears that the continuity of sleep plays a crucial role in determining its impact on overall well-being.

Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is vital for optimal health. While the appropriate amount of sleep may vary among individuals, sticking to a consistent sleep routine seems to have a positive effect on overall health and longevity.

Want more information on sleeping tips?

This New York Times article discusses how to make up for a bad night’s sleep.

This GQ article offers tips and strategies for falling asleep faster, such as creating a bedtime routine, avoiding electronics before bed, and managing stress.

This Forbes article recommends essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood for promoting better sleep and relaxation, providing tips on how to use them effectively.