Consistent Routines Are Good For Sleep, Study Finds

01/07/2014 08:22 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014
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Going to work the same time each day could be good for your sleep -- really.

A new study, first reported by Reuters, shows that keeping a consistent daily schedule -- where you eat, start working and go outside around the same time each day -- is associated with better sleep.

The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Series B, is based on data recorded over 14 days in diaries by 50 younger and 50 older adults. The adults recorded their daily activities, including when they went outside, started work and ate dinner each day, as well as measures of sleep (including how long they slept at night, sleep quality, how many times they woke up at night, what time they went to bed and what time they woke up).

Researchers found that on a whole, variability of timing of activities affected sleep more than the actual timing of the activities. (Though older adults did experience some sleep benefits from schedule variability; this association was not seen in younger adults.)

"For example, people reported better sleep quality and fewer awakenings at night when they were consistent in the time they first went outside," study researcher Natalie Dautovich, of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, told Reuters.

Having regularity in your schedule may not only be a good thing for sleep. Past studies have also shown that younger kids with regular bedtimes are better behaved than those who go to sleep at inconsistent times. And a study from Brigham Young University showed that having consistent sleep and wake times is associated with lower body fat levels among young women.

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