The Rhythm of Survival - How Predictable Sleep Patterns Outweigh Duration in Mortality Prediction

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The Rhythm of Survival - How Predictable Sleep Patterns Outweigh Duration in Mortality Prediction

Hey, Athletes! The Rhythm of Survival - How Predictable Sleep Patterns Outweigh Duration in Mortality Prediction  Episode of The Garage Gym Athlete Podcast is up!

The Rhythm of Survival - How Predictable Sleep Patterns Outweigh Duration in Mortality Prediction


  • Jerred and Joe Discuss a study on sleep
  • The guys go through a study that discussed different factors concerning sleep regularity 
  • They give their own approaches and thoughts on sleep
  • And A LOT MORE!!

Diving Deeper…

If you want to go a little bit deeper on this episode, here is a link to the study for you: 

Garage Gym Athlete Workout of the Week 

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To becoming better!

- Jerred

Podcast Transcript

Jerred: [00:00:00] All right. We all know sleep is important. You know it. I know it. The trees know it. Every single person knows it at this point. But what about sleep is actually important? Is it the duration? So the amount of time you spent asleep or is it the different stages of sleep that you're wearable? Are incorrectly reporting every single morning when you wake up and look at your watch or your app, or is it the regularity or consistency of your sleep schedule?

We're going to be diving into all things sleep with a newly published study from September, 2023. Let's dive in. This is the Garage Gym Athlete Podcast, and we're here to build autonomous athletes and put phenomenal programming into every garage, basement, and spare bedroom out there. I'm Jared Moon, and I'm with Jill Courtney.

We are strength and conditioning coaches who have turned over 20, 000 people into Garage Gym Athletes over the last decade, and we're here to reduce the information overload that exists in the health and fitness industry today. We're [00:01:00] going to do that by covering relevant science and give actionable takeaways, not only from the data, but from our years of experience.

So let's dive in.

All right. Today, we're going to be talking about all things sleep and really covering this new study from September, 2023, which is really cool. But I thought a good thing to do before we dive into the science and the data would briefly talk about. My sleep history, Joe's sleep history, kind of what we've been doing over the years and, and Joe, I'd love to kick it off with you, man.

Like, how, what's your sleep journey been like? You know, I want to leave that as open ended as I possibly can, you know, you've, we've known each other, you've been around, um, you know, for like a decade and, uh, I'm sure you've gone through different sleep cycles and stages just like I have, but, you know, Either pre garage, gym, athlete, neo three, what was your sleep like?

What's it been like over the last 10 years of us working together? Uh, and what's your sleep like [00:02:00] now?

Joe: I've actually kind of boring when it comes to sleep, because I remember back in high school, making myself go to bed at like, by a certain time, like 9 30, 10 o'clock, I've just because waking up in the morning, hearing that alarm clock, I always hated it.

So I always knew that I needed to get enough or earlier sleep. Now, now it was really just purely based off of the wake up sucking and having the wake up suck less. No. No health parameters toward that. Um, you know, going into adult and everywhere, I think it, I think it just stuck. However, since we've, you know, worked together and then gone through, um, the, the, the, either the books, the literature, the, the studies, my sleep patterns have improved and I found ways to improve as I get older and, um, making sleep quality.

Better as I, as I've gone through, I know my main sticking point with sleep has been usually falling asleep. That's been an issue of mine, and I used to always fall asleep with, I usually put the TV on and just lay in bed and then kind of [00:03:00] roll over and, you know, fall asleep when a commercial is on. So let's set sleep timer.

But now I've definitely don't do any sort of screen before sleep. Um, and then, you know, regulating temperature a bit more. I mean, always need to be cool, but chili pad and, um, just staying. You know, just improving sleep, um, hygiene, I guess what it's called. It's the sleep habits as the main things that I've changed over time, but I've definitely always wanted to get basically give myself a bedtime, um, especially during the week.

Jerred: Yeah, I think to be honest, kind of similar for me growing up, my parents gave me a bedtime and they were kind of strict about it. And I just kind of stuck with that. I would say through high school, obviously there are times when like you're out with your friends or whatever as you get older. But those are kind of like the one offs, not like the everyday life.

And then when I got into college, I was an ROTC. So Um, I had to wake up early for PT, basically every [00:04:00] day of the week. Um, so I was pretty consistent again, other than whatever, late night with friends, Friday, Saturday, that kind of stuff, pretty consistent. It wasn't until I actually got in the military where my sleep.

Got really jacked up. I was staying up super late, waking up at 4 a. m. Um, and that's probably where my sleep got the worst. And then right around that time, having kids, you know, I had three kids. Um, we have three kids and, you know, going through the infant stages of all those kind of jacks with your sleep to some degree.

Uh, and then. You know, after I got out of the military, my sleep got better. Um, other than like still having young children. And, but I've just been like, I'd say over the last five to seven years, I've been really honing in perfecting sleep as much as possible, you know, looking at wearable data, like you said, reading books and literature, just trying to always make sleep a priority sleep consistency, getting as much deep [00:05:00] sleep as I can, all these kinds of things.

Uh, but now it's, it's a massive priority for me. I mean, A huge, huge priority, uh, is getting enough sleep going to bed on time. Cause I just, how I feel the next day and even with our kids, like I don't give a lot of advice on parenting or anything else, but when it comes to our kids health ever since they've been born, um, we've like our number one priority for their health, for their health has been sleep.

With our with our children and that's even pre literature like we just know to notice their attitudes are better Uh, they're more resilient They're just better when they sleep better and I think most parents learn that over a certain amount of time so but sleep is We've I just know a lot of parents out there and no judgment like you you do whatever you have to but like Having these crazy late bedtimes with their kids, but then still having a way to wake them up for school You know that I think that's like It's going to be a detriment, um, at some point, either in behavior or learning or something like that.

Just it challenged the challenges them to some degree. And so it's a big, it's a big [00:06:00] deal at our house and it's definitely evolved over the years. Um, cause I used to not value sleep that much at all and now it's like my number one priority when it comes to health.

Joe: Yeah, um, we had to get tubes and land his ears because of, you know, drainage and stuff like that.

And his sleep was terrible before I just looked at my aura and like within like two weeks after, after he got his tubes, not only did we know he slept better, we know if we slept better, but I looked at my aura and there's like a significant jump up in sleep time and all the markers from aura after just him getting his tubes in because all of us were sleeping better and everything was just, you know, attitude him and even training night and day.

Jerred: That's crazy. And that's Kit. I mean, I almost, I didn't, I didn't have a wearable for William. I didn't have a wearable for Graham. I think I have wearable data for Eleanor. Um, I don't even want to go look back at it. Like, I don't know. She was, she was an okay sleeper. William was the worst. So if I would have had wearable data during that time, it would have been pretty awful.[00:07:00]

But let's dive into the, the study. So the name of the study, I'll go over the details real fast. The name of the study is sleep regularity is a stronger predictor of mortality risk than sleep duration, a prospective cohort study. So we're kind of giving away what it's talking about right there in the title, but we're going to go over it anyway.

So I like to break down the who, what, where, when, how, why. So researchers were analyzing the data from 60, 977 UK biobank participants. So this is a study investigating the relationship between sleep regularity and duration. So regularity is just falling asleep. Around the same time and waking up around the same time.

And it's looking at the impact on all cause and cause specific mortality risks. So all cause mortality meeting, just like death by any cause and then cause specific, they looked at like cancer and cardio, uh, cardio metabolic, uh, risk factors, things like that. Uh, so the data was sourced from the UK biobank.

It's a large scale, scale, my [00:08:00] medical biomedical database and research resource. This was done in September of 2023, to be honest, is probably the, one of the fastest turnarounds we've ever done for a study. Um, just covering it basically less than two months after it comes out. So go us and then how. Um, how they did the study.

They're utilizing over 10 million hours of actigraphy, which is basically a sleep wearable. I looked into it a little bit more. Um, it's just like a sleep wearable device that people can use to, to measure sleep. Probably not much different than what most people are wearing these days. And they looked at the data to develop a sleep regularity index.

Called the S. R. I. And analyze sleep patterns in relation to mortality risks, and they had a 7. 8 year follow up. So pretty in depth study and they, um, they adjusted for a lot of they adjusted for a lot of things. I'm not gonna get into it, but, like, I'm pretty Happy with the data overall, I don't see anything like [00:09:00] sticking out.

And again, I'm a non scientist, but I didn't see anything. It was like, Oh, why didn't you do that? And the main reason they want to do this study is to understand the impact of sleep regularity and duration on health outcomes and challenging the traditional focus on sleep duration alone and highlighting the importance of sleep regularity as a stronger predictor of mortality risk.

So Joe, what did you think of this study as you were, uh, looking into it a little bit more?

Joe: So some of the in between how they, you know, predictive studies sometimes to be a little confusing and the large pool of data they're dealing with. I kind of kind of got lost in the mud a little bit. However, I'm really glad they did this because it makes the conclusion.

Everything else makes a lot of sense. And I would have never thought to compare sleep duration with regularity. Like everything you always hear about is, you know, get your 7 to 8 hours of sleep even like Um, the book, why we sleep is, is a lot about, I mean, obviously there's good, good sleep practice, but sleep duration and even, you know, might even encourage some, some napping just to get your, your sleep in, but there's not [00:10:00] a whole lot of, that I've heard about making sure everything is more consistent, obviously consistency in sleeping and habits makes, makes a difference and helps you keep to those, those habits of sleep times, but it's not all about, um, how long you sleep.

So it doesn't matter. So like, and we, we've been kind of. Doing this on, on our own even, um, before all this. But that was, that was really the most interesting part, is that like, how did they, you know, the, the fact that they, they thought of it to, to, to compare duration and, um, regularity, but then the massive amount of, of people and data and everything that, that they, uh, that they did and how they broke down each section of it.

It wasn't just like either consistent or not. There's different. Levels of the consistency and regularity and everything that, uh, that they went into, which I thought was, was really, uh, really cool.

Jerred: Yeah, they, it was pretty interesting that they did do that. And ultimately what they found was irregular sleep is means you have a higher risk of [00:11:00] mortality, all cause cancer and cardiometabolic.

So if you are. An irregular sleeper. That's a bad thing. According to this study and sleep regularity is as a greater indicator than sleep duration for all cause mortality doesn't mean duration is Insignificant. It's just was greater, significantly greater the regularity than duration. So it does not mean, Hey, I'm a regular sleeper, but I only sleep four hours per night.

Sorry, you, there's like, there's an overlap here. You have to kind of do, do both. And what they actually found was sleep duration. I wanted to point out, and this is, this is covered in most sleep literature and books, but there is a U shaped curve With duration and so typically I try to put numbers on it to the best I can, but typically if you're sleeping like less than six hours, your mortality risk increases and then it's a U shaped curve because as you go from six to like seven and eight that drops your [00:12:00] chance of death or mortality significantly decrease when you get to like seven, eight range.

And then really, once you get above high eights, nine plus hours, your chance of death increases again. Um, so it's, it's a U shaped curve when it comes to duration, because if you're not sleeping enough, your body's not able to do the things that it needs to do to repair itself, immune function, all those kinds of things, but then.

If you're sleeping too much, that's generally an indicator that something's wrong. Like, maybe you have too much inflammation. Uh, maybe your body is, you're having really fragmented sleep. So you're having to stay in your bed for longer periods of time. So sleeping too much is also bad. So for me, what I'm looking at here is Ultimately you want sleep regularity with a duration of about seven to eight hours is what the data is saying.

And what was really interesting about a graph that they, they put in there when they, they put regularity versus duration was the regular sleepers who were like in the top 20 [00:13:00] percent had the lowest, uh, chance of mortality, lowest chance of death, but then they also did sleep duration on that same kind of line.

And yeah, if you slept tiny bits. It was, it was really bad. But if you slept, um, it was 7. 56 to 13. 49, which I can't even believe is like it was in the data. So if you slept 7. 56 hours to 13. 49, that was the second worst group to be in for all cause mortality. And then the best group to be in was 7. 05 hours to 7.

56 hours. Now, take this with a grain of salt because I, I'm not saying like if you sleep eight hours or more, that's necessarily bad, really most of the research I've seen, it's typically high eights past nine is where you might have some other issues going on. So anyway, that was the main stuff from the study.

I haven't seen a statement of [00:14:00] significance in any study that we've done. So I wanted to read it because it's their paper, it's their research. And they started it off with a statement of significance. So I'm going to read it. It said, sleep of adequate duration is important for optimal health and longevity, but emerging evidence demonstrates that regular sleep timing may be even more important.

Using objective measures of sleep in a cohort of more than 60, 000 individuals. We found that people with less regular sleep patterns have a higher risk of premature mortality. And that sleep regularity is a stronger predictor of mortality risk than sleep duration. These findings were robust with detailed control for confounding factors, providing evidence that sleep regularity is a key index of human health and potentially a more important marker of health than sleep duration.

Pretty interesting. Um, and one thing I was, I was actually trying to look at my sleep. I don't pay attention to it too much. So I wear a Garmin, um, and not sponsored [00:15:00] or anything, but I wear Garmin. So I went to look, I was like, how consistent is my sleep schedule? So I went back to look and I was like, Going at first I was looking day to day and I was looking at my sleep scores.

And when I went to sleep and when I woke up, no, I realized that they had already added this chart in there. If you just go to sleep and then you scroll down, it just has a sleep consistency. It's like, they're, they're ahead of the curve here. They like, they know that sleep consistency is important. Uh, but I already had like a sleep consistency.

Portion in the Garmin app. And I'm, I'm a fairly regular, like I have a super regular schedule right now, especially if I'm not traveling or anything else I'm in bed around the same time, sometimes I'll wake a little bit earlier than normal if I need to fit a long run in right now, but I have a very consistent sleep schedule and I think it's something that everybody should be, should be shooting for.

Uh, so I thought that we could kind of like wrap things up with just basically talking about what people can do to. You know fall asleep and because the overall recommendation if people were like, okay, what's [00:16:00] regular? What's a regular sleep schedule? Well, the recommendation is to fall asleep and wake up within one hour windows So that's the ultimate takeaway if you want to boil everything that we're talking about down to one little point Fall asleep and wake up within one hour window.

So if you go to bed at nine Like nine is the hour. Try to be asleep between nine and 10. If you wake up at five 30, like, you know, whatever your five to six, try to wake up between 5 AM and 6 AM every day, like that's sleep regularity. And that's what they're, they're recommended. Cause that was my main question.

I'm like, okay, what is sleep regularity? Are we talking about within 10 minutes, within 30 minutes? And they're saying within one hour is what you're shooting for on a daily basis, which is great because I think that variance allows for, you know, people doing. Whatever you have in life, like one offs, all those kind of things, and you're not being able to fall asleep one night, whatever.

Um, but Joe, do you have any recommendations for sleep in general or sleep regularity for anyone listening? [00:17:00]

Joe: I mean, it all comes down to routine for us. Everything happens at the same time every night. You know, it starts with dinner, dinnertime is dinnertime. And then we go and we watch some TV. We do whatever we got to do.

And then bedtime or. Bedtime routine starts now, especially with, with the baby, whether it's, you know, bath night, we go, we go, we go upstairs at the same time and start the trickle down of bedtime routine. And then we're, we're basically hitting everything at consistently certain times. And even like the kid falls asleep within 10 minutes, every single time, every single night, which sometimes I find strange because how does he know what time it is?

Um. Us is still, we're always regimented to that. And we also, so this will probably get the most, um, flack or pushback for a lot of people, but we keep our bedtime routine through the weekends. And when we, and basically when we travel, sometimes when we travel things, you know, schedules are flux a little bit, but our weekend bedtime routine is exactly the same.

It's still the exact same time we go up at night. And basically the baby [00:18:00] dictates that we wake up at the same time every morning. But even before him, we were. My we might stay up like a little bit later, like one hour later, but we're still waking up fairly early every morning. We're not we don't sleep in on the weekends.

So and I always found that funny that people will You know Monday always hits really really hard for the people who are staying up three four hours later on the weekend because then the abrupt adjust Back to their early, early morning, early bedtime on Monday is just horrendous. So if you don't want that, then keep your same consistency of, um, bedtime on the weekend.

Jerred: Yeah. No, no flack here. I don't ever stay up late later on the weekends for any reason, basically whatsoever. Um, yeah, I think what you, once you have, uh, Human alarm clocks thrown into your life, which are kids, you get way more consistent. I think that they help after a certain, certain point, but now that my kids are getting older, um, [00:19:00] I, I see a point in the near future where I'm like, you can go to bed at 10, but I'm not like, I'm going to bed at nine.

I'll see you tomorrow. You know, like, um, because we'll, you know, right now they, we all kind of, you know, we do the same thing. I mean, my kids age, ages vary, but we start with bedtime and then. Yeah, we're pretty much in bed at the same time. Doesn't matter if it's Saturday, Sunday, Monday, doesn't matter. We're really consistent.

So I would say be consistent. Don't have like, just want to echo what Joe's saying. If it just to get some tips, be consistent, um, across weekends and weekdays. Um, And try not to do those like, yeah, those late nights and, uh, early mornings and all that stuff. Um, some typical stuff, make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, comfortable temperature, uh, all those kinds of things.

Uh, I typically put on blue blockers about. Two hours before I go to bed when I can remember, um, I don't do this a hundred percent of the time, but [00:20:00] when I'm at home, if, um, I can remember if I am going to be watching TV or there are lights on, um, I will wear blue blocker glasses about two hours before bedtime, and I do feel like it helps to some degree.

Uh, but some of the research is also saying, like, just avoid bright lights in general. So, uh, some of our lights, like in our kitchen, we have like a dimmer. Uh, and same within our bathroom. Um, it has a dimmer. So, like, we try to keep the lights dim and not, like, bright. And not always, like, I always notice it when, if I happen to be at, like, someone else's house or whatever, if I'm traveling.

And they're not like me. And I feel like I'm getting blinded at like eight 30 at night. There's like, all the lights are on as bright as it can. I'm like, yeah, I'm not, I'm not accustomed to this. It's just kind of funny how my parents are like that. Like every light in their house is just on like all the time.

They didn't go to sleep and like all the lights are on. Um, and I'm just like, you guys can't keep doing this. So, you know, you gotta. [00:21:00] Turn off as many lights as you can. Electronics, electronics, um, and shut those things down. Avoid large meals. Uh, my whoop or my aura ring used to tell me that if I ate too late, it'd be like, you ate too late last night and call me out on it.

Cause you have like an elevated heart rate. So avoid large meals. Don't have caffeine late in the day. No alcohol. Um, Anywhere close to bedtime, which makes it hard, right? Like that's when most people drink alcohol, but avoid, avoid that ability. What'd you say?

Joe: I said, well, we're day drinkers. If, and when we do drink, I typically stop before dinner and we dinner for earlier.

So like usually four is like my cutoff drink time. Yeah. So like, I might start drinking at noon. Yeah. It's yeah. That's a sleep.

Jerred: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, that's like earlier in the day, the better when it comes to alcohol, if you don't want it to affect your sleep exercise, obvious answer, get a lot of exercise.

If you want to sleep better. I know one thing that helps me sleep, um, is just heavy lifting. And I don't know if this is true for [00:22:00] everybody. But I just experienced this again recently. I haven't been lifting as heavy. And I've kind of talked about that over recent podcasts and stuff, but I am still lifting.

But I decided to go like heavier on the deadlift, um, this past weekend. And I was like, yeah, whatever, you know, I'm feeling pretty good. My back's great. Like I'm going to go heavy on the deadlift. So I went heavy on the deadlift. Um, and all, all's good. Like I was able to handle the weight. No problem. But I slept so well.

That night, like even on my sleep tracker, I got like way more deep sleep than normal, and I really think it has to do with Um, you know, just lifting heavyweights and taxing kind of like your central nervous system. Um, and I think that's about it. And you know, you mentioned, um, your son kind of knowing when to fall asleep and stuff.

A lot of that's just circadian rhythm and I think that's what all, all this comes back to. Uh, and there is a, you know, a decent amount of research like Huberman, um, from the human lab podcast. He talks about all the time, like getting morning sunlight, um, in your eyes like that helps set your circadian rhythm.

So if [00:23:00] you can do that. Uh, get morning light, get morning exercise, get some bright lights going in the morning. You do want to spike that cortisol, help set your circadian rhythm. So all those things, do all those things to try and increase your sleep quality. But ultimately you're looking at, yeah, I want the most regular sleep schedule I possibly can.

That seems like the most important thing. And then after that, trying to get into that seven to eight hour duration window, if you can kind of nail those two things, and I think you're crushing it on the, uh, On the sleep side of things. Yeah.

Joe: Uh, other things, just small notes is, uh, you can get a garment because then you have a flashlight, so you don't have to turn on lights.


Jerred: mean, yeah. And it can even go to red, so it won't like blind you. Yeah. If

Joe: you, uh, and, um, has the vibration alarm clock. Uh, speaking of alarm clock. So I always like to know what time it is at night. Cause I wake up regularly in the middle of night. And while I do have the watch that I can turn on, sometimes it's a little bright.

I got a. Clock for us that [00:24:00] it projects the time on the ceiling. So the light isn't directly shining at you that you're looking at. So you don't, you can't, we don't have to look around and the light is shining at you. It's shining at the ceiling, which is a lot different and better for your eyes. And it's even in red so that you can see the time and it doesn't have any sort of light affecting your eyes.

So I think that is, that was a really awesome purchase. Our son broke ours and immediately that minute I ordered another one. I was like, I need, I need one of these.

Jerred: That's crazy. Um, the newer garments have like night shift mode. Mine, mine doesn't even have that, but like it, it like switches to like a red.

So it won't like ruin your sleep or whatever. You know, I saw this thing on Kickstarter. This was years ago. I mean, like, I don't even know if it made it out of the Kickstarter phase, but it was a thing that mounted on your wall. And like, you could set, it did like what you're talking about. It could display the time like on the ceiling, but then it would also wake you up by like, it would know which one was you, like which side of the bed [00:25:00] you slept on.

Cause you'd tell it. And then it had like this small beam of light that it would shine, like directly into your eyes. And, and that's like, that was, it's alarm clock was like to wake you up. Because the reason I found it back in the day is because I was just looking for ways to wake up early without waking up Emily, I used to be like a struggle.

Cause believe it or not finding an alarm clock. That just only vibrated was very difficult. I ended up finding like one watch that did it. And so I bought that watch for that one reason. Now it's common in like Apple watch Garmin and a lot of watches, but it was difficult to find. Um, so anyway, I thought that was a really funny device.

I did not end up buying it and I don't know how well that ended up doing.

Joe: Yeah, if that screws up and goes to the wrong person, that's even worse.

Jerred: Yeah, well, how pissed would you be, like, getting a light directly in your eye if you want to wake up?

Joe: The person on the right, your right or my right?

Jerred: Hopefully there's an app that breaks it down for you.

Um, [00:26:00] but we'll wrap this one up here. Ultimately, sleep regularity is important. I think we've kind of known that. Like, when people talk about sleep hygiene, they talk about sleep consistency. And so I don't know if that's necessarily new groundbreaking information, but the groundbreaking part of it is it's like, this may actually be more important than duration.

So if you are struggling with the duration side of it, for whatever reason, maybe just work on the regularity, force yourself to be in bed for a certain amount of time, go to bed at the same time, every night, within the same hour, try and wake up consistently and see what improvements it makes to your health and your overall wellbeing and your performance, uh, you know, as an athlete, try all those things out and you'll be way better off.

Now for all of our garage gym athletes out there, uh, we really appreciate each and every single one of you. Um, you know, doing the training, listening to podcast, uh, leaving reviews on the podcast, all these things. We really appreciate all of that. If you are a regular listener or new listener, you've listened to a couple episodes, we'd love for you to leave a review of the podcast, five star review, positive comment, it really helps the [00:27:00] show out, helps it reach more people, and we really would appreciate it.

And if you want to jump into our training, you can go to garagegymathlete. com and hit the little button on the homepage and you will be setting up your account and getting ready to train with us. And we would love to have you, but that's it for this one. Remember if you don't kill comfort, comfort will kill you.

Joe: Thanks for listening to the garage gym athlete podcast. If you want to find out more, check out our training or just know more about us at the garagegymathlete. com.

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