Poor sleeping habits may increase risk of fatty liver disease, study finds

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Excessive napping during the day can be detrimental to consumers’ liver health

A new study conducted by researchers from the Endocrine Society explored the link between sleeping habits and liver health. According to their findings, consumers who struggle with nighttime sleep and have sedentary lifestyles have a higher risk of developing fatty liver disease. 

“People with poor nighttime sleep and prolonged daytime napping have the highest risk for fatty liver disease,” said researcher Yan Liu, Ph.D. “Our study found a moderate improvement in sleep quality was related to a 29% reduction in the risk for fatty liver disease.” 

Prioritizing healthy sleep habits

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from over 5,000 people who had already been diagnosed with fatty liver disease. The participants answered questions about their sleep habits, including when they usually went to bed, the duration and frequency that they napped, and whether they snored. Participants were also asked about their exercise habits and diets.

The researchers identified several sleep-related and lifestyle factors that increased the participants’ risk for liver disease. They said napping for over 30 minutes during the day, going to bed late, and snoring contributed to poor liver health outcomes. Waking up frequently throughout the night and taking regular naps during the day were linked with the highest risks of liver disease.  

The researchers said the participants’ lifestyles played a role in their symptoms related to liver disease. Having poor sleep habits only amplified liver health risks among those who didn’t exercise regularly or follow healthy diets.

To consumers who struggle with poor nighttime routines, the researchers say all hope is not lost in terms of liver health. The study showed that taking steps to improve sleep habits can have positive effects.

“Our study provides evidence that even a moderate improvement in sleep quality is sufficient to reduce the risk for fatty liver disease, especially in those with unhealthy lifestyles,” said Dr. Liu. “Given that large proportions of subjects suffering from poor sleep quality are underdiagnosed and undertreated, our study calls for more research into this field and strategies to improve sleep quality.” 

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