A research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that data from sleep patterns measured with consumer-facing wearables uncovered an association between shorter, more variable hours of sleep and higher body mass index (BMI).
The retrospective analysis described longitudinal sleep characteristics in more than 120,000 individuals, who were using a commercially available wearable device. The researchers collected de-identified data from up to two years of monitored sleep duration and sleep variability using standard deviation (SD) of sleep duration. These metrics were calculated for each user separately, averaged, and then examined according to self-reported baseline BMI.
The results show that participants with BMIs over 30 had slightly shorter mean (SD) sleep duration and more variable sleep.
However, these results may not be generalisable to the wider population because individuals of higher socioeconomic status, younger, and healthier, are more likely to use wearables.
While a direction from the association cannot be determined, these results provide further support to the notion that sleep patterns are associated with weight management and overall health.
These findings also support the potential value of including both sleep duration and individual sleep patterns when studying sleep-related health outcomes, the authors say.