Posted on Jan 21, 2014, 6 a.m.
Variety might be the spice of life, but to what extent does a consistent daily routine serve as a staple for quality sleep?
How important are scheduled activities? Natalie D. Dautovich, from the University of Alabama (Alabama, USA), and colleagues sought to examine the extent to which a person’s daily routine affects sleep. The team completed an observational study design involving 14 consecutive days of diaries kept by 100 community-dwelling adults. Fifty subjects between the ages of 18 and 30 years, and another 50 subjects between the ages of 60 and 95 years, recorded their patterns of daily activities and sleep. The researchers analyzed 3 activities (going outside, starting work, and eating dinner) and 5 sleep (sleep onset latency, wake time after sleep onset, number of awakenings, total sleep time, and sleep quality rating) variables. The team found that containing a consistent daily routine associated with better quality sleep. Young adults who went to work and ate dinner at the same time every day typically slept better and wake up fewer times during the night; they also fell asleep more quickly at that time. Interestingly, the researchers observe that among older adults, inconsistent daily schedules were sometimes linked with better sleep: older subjects whose dinnertime varied tended to sleep longer at night, and those who started home activities or began work at different times each day fell asleep more quickly.
Natalie D. Dautovich, Kristy D. Shoji, Christina S. McCrae. “Variety is the Spice of Life: A Microlongitudinal Study Examining Age Differences in Intraindividual Variability in Daily Activities in Relation to Sleep Outcomes.” J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci, December 10, 2013.