The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
Insufficient and disturbed sleep during the teenage years may heighten the subsequent risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), suggests a case-control study published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Clocking up enough hours of restorative sleep while young may help to ward off the condition, suggest the researchers.
MS is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, including smoking, teenage weight (BMI), Epstein-Barr virus infection, sun exposure, and vitamin D, note the researchers.
For the study, the researchers drew on a population-based case-control study, the Epidemiological Investigation of Multiple Sclerosis (EIMS), comprising 16–70-year-old Swedish residents.
People with MS were recruited from hospital- and privately-run neurology clinics and matched for age, sex, and residential area with two healthy people randomly selected from the national population register between 2005 and 2013 and 2015 and 2018.
The researchers focused particularly on sleep patterns during the ages 15 to 19, and the final analysis included 2,075 people with MS and 3,164 without the condition in this age group when recruited to the study.
Participants were asked about their sleeping patterns at different ages and study participants were asked to assess sleep quality during different age periods.
The average age at which MS was diagnosed was 34. Sleep length and quality during adolescence were associated with the risk of an MS diagnosis, which increased in tandem with fewer hours and poorer quality of sleep.
Compared with sleeping 7-9 hours/night during the teenage years, short sleep was associated with a 40% heightened risk of subsequently developing MS, after accounting for a range of potentially influential factors, including BMI at age 20 and smoking.
But long sleep, including at weekends or on free days, wasn’t associated with a heightened MS risk. Similarly, subjectively assessed poor sleep quality during this period was associated with a 50% heightened risk of developing the condition.