Blunted rest-activity circadian rhythm is associated with increased rate of biological aging: an analysis of NHANES 2011-2014

Yanyan Xu, Xiaoling Wang, Daniel W Belsky, William V McCall, Yutao Liu, Shaoyong Su

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Impaired rest-activity circadian rhythm has been associated with increased risk for morbidity and mortality. Animals with mutations in clock genes display accelerated aging and shortened lifespan. Whether impaired rest-activity circadian rhythm is also associated with processes of aging in humans has not been explored. We analyzed accelerometry and physiological data from 7,539 adults participating in the 2011-2014 waves of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). We used accelerometry data to compute rest-activity rhythm measurements. We used physiological data to compute measurements of biological aging according to three published algorithms: Klemera-Doubal method (KDM) Biological Age, PhenoAge, and homeostatic dysregulation (HD). In the models adjusting multiple covariates, participants with higher relative amplitude (RA) and inter-daily stability (IS) and lower intra-daily variability (IV) exhibited less advanced biological aging indexed by KDM and PhenoAge (effect sizes for one-quantile increase in these rest-activity measurements ranged from 0.54-0.57 "years" for RA, 0.24-0.28 "years" for IS and 0.24-0.35 "years" for IV, Ps<0.001). Similar finding was observed for biological aging indexed by HD, but the significance was limited to relative amplitude with one-quantile increase in relative amplitude associated with 0.09 log units decrease in HD (P<0.001). The results indicate that blunted rest-activity circadian rhythm is associated with accelerated aging in the general population, suggesting that interventions aiming at enhancing circadian rhythm may be a novel approach for the extension of a healthy life span.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences
Early online dateSep 18 2022
StatePublished - Sep 18 2022


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