MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Short sleep duration is associated with lower bone mineral density (BMD) and a higher risk for osteoporosis among postmenopausal women, according to a study published online Nov. 6 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Heather M. Ochs-Balcom, Ph.D., from the State University of New York in Buffalo, and colleagues used data from 11,084 postmenopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative (mean age, 63.3 years) to assess the relationship between sleep and bone health. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to assess low bone mass and osteoporosis.

The researchers found that in adjusted models, women who reported sleeping no more than five hours per night had on average 0.012 to 0.018 g/cm² significantly lower BMD at all four sites (whole body, total hip, femoral neck, and spine) versus women who reported sleeping seven hours per night. Women reporting no more than five hours of sleep per night had higher odds of low bone mass and osteoporosis of the hip (odds ratios, 1.22 and 1.63, respectively). A similar pattern was seen for spine BMD. There were higher odds of osteoporosis (adjusted odds ratio, 1.28) among women with no more than five hours of sleep per night. There were no significant associations between sleep quality and DXA BMD.

“Our study suggests that sleep may negatively impact bone health, adding to the list of the negative health impacts of poor sleep,” Ochs-Balcom said in a statement. “I hope that it can also serve as a reminder to strive for the recommended seven or more hours of sleep per night for our physical and mental health.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Merck.

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