Adherence to a Healthy Sleep Pattern Linked to Lower Mortality Risks

Pavankumar Kamat


July 23, 2021


  • A healthy sleep pattern was significantly associated with lower risks of all-cause mortality and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer.

Why this matters

  • Findings emphasise that improving overall sleep behaviours rather than modifying individual sleep habits may lower the risk of premature deaths.

Study design

  • A prospective study involving 283,443 participants without CVD and cancer from the UK Biobank.

  • A healthy sleep score and sleep patterns were derived through a combination of 5 individual sleep behaviours.

  • Funding: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others.

Key results

  • Overall, 168,878 (59.6%) of the participants reported a healthy sleep pattern (sleep score, 4-5), 108,439 (38.3%) reported an intermediate sleep pattern (sleep score, 2-3) and 6126 (2.2%) reported an unfavourable sleep pattern (sleep score, ≤1).

  • During a mean follow-up of 8.9 years (2.5 million person-years), 7936 all-cause deaths were reported, of which 762 were caused by CVD and 4540 were caused by cancer.

  • After adjusting for confounders, a 1 point increase of the healthy sleep score was associated with lower risks of (adjusted HR [aHR]; 95% CI):

    • all-cause mortality (0.94; 0.92-0.96);

    • CVD mortality (0.89; 0.83-0.95); and

    • cancer mortality (0.96; 0.93-0.99).

  • Participants with a favourable sleep pattern vs those with an unfavourable sleep pattern had lower risks of (aHR; 95% CI):

    • all-cause mortality (0.76; 0.67-0.86); and

    • CVD mortality (0.58; 0.40-0.84).

  • The association between healthy sleep score and all-cause mortality was stronger in participants with (aHR; 95% CI):

    • below normal body mass index (0.74; 0.64-0.85); and

    • low physical activity (0.91; 0.87-0.95).


  • Observational design.


Zhou T, Yuan Y, Xue Q, Li X, Wang M, Ma H, Heianza Y, Qi L. Adherence to a healthy sleep pattern is associated with lower risks of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer-specific mortality. J Intern Med. 2021 Jul 08 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1111/joim.13367. PMID: 34237797.  View abstract 

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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