Can more sleep help keep your bones strong?

By Sports PT Blog Team

Osteoporosis risk factors include gender, bone structure and race. Physical activity and following a healthy diet can help keep our bones stronger, but can getting more sleep help too? New research published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research has suggested that an additional way to keep bones strong is to get enough sleep on a nightly basis.

Investigators found that women who slept five or fewer hours a night had a significantly lower bone mass density (BMD) and a greater risk for osteoporosis compared with women who had a full night’s sleep of at least seven hours. Stronger bones mean fewer fractures, which is one or the most prevalent heath issues that older women face. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), one-half of all women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis; a woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.

After adjusting for factors such as race, education, smoking, alcohol use, physical activitybody mass index (BMI), and sleep medication use, the researchers found:

  • Women who slept five hours or less a night had a 22 percent higher risk of having low bone mineral density and a 63 percent higher risk of having osteoporosis of the hip compared with the women who slept seven hours a night.
  • The women who slept less than five hours a night had a 28 percent higher risk of osteoporosis of the spine, and a 94 percent increased risk of osteoporosis of the whole body compared with those who slept seven hours per night.
  • Sleeping longer than seven hours didn’t add any additional benefit in terms of bone mineral density or osteoporosis risk reduction.

This study is a follow-up to research published in March 2019 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, according to Dr. Ochs-Balcom.

“In that study we looked at sleep and found that women who had short sleep were more likely to have a fracture,” she says. “We wanted to know more about what could be behind that association. Was it that the women who slept less were walking around more or was it because they actually had lower bone mineral density?”

It’s true, sleep can help with many of our health issues. So can physical activity. Being active helps build stronger bones and muscles on a sustained basis. Call us today to see how we can help you remain or get active safely.