How long you sleep may affect your risk of falls and fractures

In a new study, researchers found that compared with women in a recent study who slept seven to eight hours each night, women who slept for >5 hours or <10 hours had about a 25% increased odds of experiencing recurrent falls (falling at least twice in a year).

The analysis included 157,306 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, with an average follow-up time of 7.6 years for falls and 12.0 years for fractures.

The annualized rate of recurrent fall events was 10.6% among women reporting 5 hours of sleep per night, 7.0% among women sleeping seven to eight hours per night, and 11.8% among women sleeping 10 hours per night.

The team showed that poor sleep quality, insomnia, and more sleep disturbances were associated with increased odds of recurrent falls.

Short sleep was associated with an increased risk of all fractures, and upper limb, lower limb, and central body fractures, but not with an increased risk of hip fractures.

“Falls are an important public health problem among older adults and lead to moderate to severe injuries.

Most fractures occur because of falls, and recent evidence shows that mortality from falls in the US is increasing,” said lead author Dr. Jane Cauley, of the University of Pittsburgh.

“Even though falls are caused by a number of factors, our paper focuses on a novel risk factor: sleep. Results suggest that interventions aimed at improving sleep may reduce the risk of falls.”

The study is published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research analysis.

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