Latest Study Suggests Poor Sleep Habits May Harm Kidney Function in Women

Healthy Living

January 30, 2016

A recent study of women conducted by researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital concluded that the lack of sleep in women may result in a “gateway to kidney disease.” The study which was conducted by researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied the sleeping habits of thousands of women, from which researchers concluded that too little sleep had a direct correlation to an increased amount of kidney dysfunction.

However, it is not known if the decline in kidney function is a result of a declining amount of sleep, or if sleeping longer improves kidney function, reversing damage caused by lack of sleep.

What is Known About Women and Kidney Disease

Researchers found that women who had five hours or less sleep each night experienced a 65 percent increase in the risk of a dramatic decrease in kidney function, as compared to women who slept seven to eight hours without interruption each night.

For most women today this may be an area of concern at first glance, because as a whole the general population is getting less sleep than they did twenty years ago, about 6.5 hours and declining as opposed to the seven or eight hours of sleep we got twenty years ago, according to lead researcher Dr. Ciaran McMullan. With the results of the study showing only that less sleep is connected to decreased kidney function and not that the cause of kidney dysfunction is less sleep Dr. McMullan warns that more research is needed in this area to determine what actually causes kidney dysfunction.

What researchers do know is that the link between kidney dysfunction and sleep is that people afflicted with high blood pressure and diabetes often get less sleep, and these two diseases directly affect the function of the kidneys. With the continued rising number of obese people in the U.S. and an aging population it is not unreasonable to believe that kidney disease will increase significantly as well as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, this is not a happy outlook for the future of Americans.

What you Can Do To Prevent Kidney Disease

It may sound trite, or too simple, but the truth is eating a healthy diet, getting ample amounts of exercise and the proper amount of sleep (seven hours is preferable) is a sure fire remedy for reversing damage to your kidneys and improving your kidney function.

Eating healthy can often prevent or reverse pre-diabetes, even diabetes type 2 simply by eliminating unnatural sugars, salt and unhealthy fats in your daily diet, as an added benefit typically your blood pressure will naturally come down as a result. Additionally, if you are not running to the bathroom to urinate three or four times a night (a common symptom of diabetes) you will be getting better uninterrupted sleep at night, which means your kidneys will be functioning better and may also be able to self repair.

Even though the Brigham study was conducted on women researchers agree that the conclusions reached could easily apply to men as well, but admitted that a study would have to be conducted to reach a scientific conclusion.


It should be noted that the results of the Brigham study has not been published by a peer-reviewed medical journal and therefore should be considered preliminary until that peer review takes place. However, that may occur very soon as the study is due to be presented at the scheduled meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in San Diego this coming Thursday.