A newly published study has provided powerful evidence for the importance of sleep for bone health.

The human body performs many critical functions during sleep. This is demonstrated by the negative health impacts of getting too little sleep. In fact, under-sleeping has been linked to conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Today we’ll look at data connecting short sleep duration and poor bone health, and delve into the growing understanding of the importance of a good night’s sleep.

Bone Health Suffers Without Sufficient Sleep

A just-published study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research has directly associated short sleep duration with low bone mineral density (BMD).

The study included 11,084 postmenopausal women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative. The researchers compared the participants’ self-reported hours of sleep and sleep quality with whole body, total hip, femoral neck, and spine BMD.

Their analysis revealed that women who slept less than five hours a night had significantly lower bone density than women who slept the recommended minimum of seven hours per night. The difference in bone density between the two groups was equivalent to a year’s worth of aging.1 Women who slept six hours per night had BMD scores that fell between the shortest sleep duration group and the participants who slept seven hours per night.

The study concluded that for postmenopausal women, getting adequate sleep is an effective means for maintaining bone mineral density, and should be considered as an intervention to improve bone health.1

Synopsis

A study of 11,084 postmenopausal women found that those who slept seven hours each night had significantly higher bone mineral density than women who slept five hours or less, and to a lesser degree, higher BMD than those who slept six hours per night. Getting the right amount of sleep can mitigate bone loss.

Following The Data

This study was performed to follow up on the results of a previous study completed by the same researchers. The prior study concluded that short sleep duration was associated both with recurrent falls and several types of fractures.2

The scientists weren’t satisfied with that answer though– they wanted to know why fracture risk increased.

The results of the new study indicate that reduced bone quality is to blame. The researchers point to the cycles of bone remodeling as an explanation. During sleep, the cells that deposit new bone (osteoblasts) and remove old bone (osteoclasts) spring into action, improving bone quality.2

When we don’t get enough sleep, osteoblasts and osteoclasts don’t get the chance to do their work– leading to lower BMD, bone quality, and increased fracture risk.

Synopsis

A previous study by the same authors linked short sleep duration to increased risk of falls and fracture. The new study found that bone loss is caused by insufficient sleep, likely because bone remodeling takes place during sleep.

Sleep For Your Bones And Your Brain

It’s not just your bones that remodel during sleep. Recent studies have shown that brain neurons undergo a process of removing synapses while you slumber– effectively editing your memories to make the important ones easier to find.

Studies on the brains of mice have found that during sleep, certain proteins activate during sleep and prune away unneeded synapses. This neural upkeep creates clearer memories of important information.3

When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain doesn’t have the opportunity to maintain its synaptic network, which explains the foggy confusion that often follows a sleepless night.

Synopsis

Researchers found that the brain eliminates unnecessary synapses at night to improve memory and cognitive function during the day.

A Path To Better Sleep

The studies above resoundingly concluded that sleeping for seven hours each night is essential for maintaining bone health, brain health, and overall wellness. One healthy habit to help you meet that goal is a regular exercise routine.

The Save Institute’s new digital platform for guided exercise, SaveTrainer, has workouts specifically designed to improve sleep. SaveTrainer offers motivating instructional videos featuring certified trainers and custom exercise plans to help you take advantage of the specific benefits you’re seeking from your workouts.

The right workout can build bone by directly stimulating the bone remodeling process, can also help you to get the sleep you need to support optimal bone health, and much more.

References

1 https://asbmr.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jbmr.3879

2 https://asbmr.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbmr.3619

3 https://science.sciencemag.org/content/355/6324/511

The Top 14 Things You’re Doing That Are Damaging Your Bones... And More!

  • Stop The Bone Thieves! report
  • Email course on how to prevent and reverse bone loss
  • Free vital osteoporosis news and updates.
Get It Free Now

Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Linda Salmon

    What does 7 hour of sleep really mean? I can be in bed for 7-8 hours but not in a deep sleep the hole time waking several times and not able to go back to sleep for hours some times. Thanks for you help. Enjoy your emails.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Linda, in the study the researchers wrote about “sleep duration” but did not specify if it has to be a deep slumber or uninterrupted sleep. Basically they asked the study subjects to report the length of time they slept. Based on that, count the hours you are actually sleeping to see if you’re getting seven hours of sleep.

      And the link below takes you to an article about the supplements that are necessary to get a good night’s sleep. I hope it will help you:

      https://saveourbones.com/top-10-nutrients-you-need-to-sleep-restfully-and-to-build-strong-bones/

      • Linda

        Thanks for the article have read it and will put some in to my retune. Did not answer all by questions but help with other suggestions.
        Linda

  2. Trish

    Thank you for this powerful information! I don’t always get the sleep I need and my osteoporosis is bad. Now I will try to get more sleep as I continue to fortify my diet with foods that contain the recommended amounts of calcium, vitamin K, and magnesium, with the help of a vitamin D supplement, along with adding more strengthening exercises. I am trying hard to stay away from drugs for this problem! It’s amazing just how much time and attention and loving care our bodies need as we age! Thank you again, Save Institute, for all of your help and resources to help us fight osteoporosis.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I’m sure you’ll successfully increase your sleeping time, Trish. You seem to be “hands-on” with your health. I’m glad you’ll use this knowledge to improve it! It’s our pleasure to help all Savers with science-backed information they can use for that purpose.

  3. Eleanor Fox

    I would like to copy this article without the OVER
    PRINTING on it. Why don’t you allow that??

    • Save Institute Customer Support

      Eleanor, to print this article you simply need to scroll down this page, and just beneath the References click the icon that says “print.” You’ll see that a page will open and it gives you the option to print the article formatted as a simple document and also in pdf format. Let us know if you need further assistance with this. We’re happy to help!

  4. IG Marenchic

    Thank you for this information.
    I would like your comment concerning my situation : I have to go to the Bathroom every 2 hours. Falling asleep again will take time.
    Thank you for you response

    • June

      I can relate to getting up in the night to go to the bathroom and after much research found a product called ProFlow UTI which has been great. Also take Deep Sleep for a restful nights sleep which is Passion Flower with no other fillers in these either. Getting a great Organic form of Calcium has always been a problem for me and essential for good bones. Leaves from the Moringa tree in capsule form contain huge amounts of calcium plus antioxidants vitamins minerals and amino acids. I visit an Osteopath and he could not believe the change in me since taking this product. Ubee Nutrition hand make their capsules and absolutely pure organic ingredients are used which is the way I want to go.

    • Save Institute Customer Support

      We’ll be happy to help you with this issue. Please check your inbox for an email from Customer Support within the next 24 to 48 hours.

    • Kerry

      Did you try cutting back on fluids after late afternoon?

      Kerry

Get Started With Your FREE
Natural Bone Building Kit.

Get a free copy of our ‘Stop The Bone Thieves’ eBook, exclusive content that you can’t find anywhere else, plus vital osteoporosis news and updates.

Get It Free