Less Sleep Helps Maintain Strong Bones

      October 16, 2014 11:59

      Conventional wisdom says an average of seven to eight hours of sleep a day is ideal to maintain good health, but this does not apply to the bones, according to a recent study. For those who are 60 or older, bones will be stronger if they sleep less.

      A research team led by Choi Hyun-rim at Kyunghee University Medical Center analyzed the correlation between sleeping time and bone density. The data was gathered from a health survey of 2,679 men and women aged 60 or over from 2008 to 2010.

      The result showed that women who slept fewer than eight hours a day had higher bone density than those who slept more. The less they slept, the higher the density was. The results were consistent for groups that slept an average of five, six, and seven hours a day.

      "There is less pressure on the bones when lying down compared to standing up," Choi explained. "The more you lie down, the less stimulated bone cells become and the less they make bone."

      For the same reason, people who weigh less tend to have less bone density than those who weigh more.

      Osteopenia or osteoporosis, where the bone density falls to 75 to 90 percent of the normal level, affects 50-80 percent of people over 50.

      The elderly and those with weak bones should reduce the time they spend lying down and become more active outdoors. Brisk walking, jump rope and other aerobic exercises are great ways to maintain bone health and should be done at least two times a week.

      Quitting smoking and drinking, and boosting calcium and vitamin D intake are also recommended.

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