Vanderbilt Study Finds Consistent Sleep May Decrease Risk of Heart Disease

Irregular sleep—chronically disrupted sleep and inconsistent sleep durations every night—leads to an increased risk for heart disease, according to a study led by Kelsie Full, PhD, MPH, a behavioral epidemiologist and an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The study, reported Feb. 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, monitored more than 2,000 adults over 45 over a seven-day period. It found that those who did not go to bed at the same time every night and slept varying amounts were more likely to have coronary artery calcium, more plaque in their carotid arteries and greater systemic atherosclerosis and stiffness in their blood vessels, commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries.

“These results suggest that maintaining regular or habitual sleep durations, or sleeping close to the same total amount of time each night, may play an important role in preventing cardiovascular disease,” said Full, who joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2022 as Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Epidemiology.

Read more about this study in the VUMC Reporter. The study has also been reported in the New York Times and other national media.