April 11, 2023 — Experts recommend that most adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If you’re among the roughly one-third of people who sleep less (or more), regular exercise may help you avoid potential long-term health consequences like heart disease and early death.

Lots of research indicates that sleep and physical activity are critical factors affecting life expectancy. normal Exercise can extend lifewhile lack of sleep or too much sleep may shorten it.

But evidence is mounting that exercise may counteract the negative effects of a lack of sleep. a Study 2022 It found that getting at least 25 minutes of physical activity a day can eliminate the risk of early death associated with excessive sleep or difficulty sleeping. and a Study 2021 It found that low levels of physical activity may exacerbate the effect of lack of sleep on early death, heart disease and cancer.

The most recent such study, from China, suggests that high amounts of exercise can virtually eliminate the risk of early death associated with sleeping too little or for too long.

This study is unique, the researchers say, because it used accelerometers (sensors that track motion) to determine sleep and physical activity. Other studies have asked participants to report their own data, which opens the door to false reporting and errors.

About 92,000 participants in the UK between the ages of 40 and 73 wore activity trackers for a week to measure how well they moved and slept. In the next seven years, 3,080 of them died, mostly from cardiovascular disease or cancer.

As you’d expect, the participants with the lowest risk of dying also exercised a lot and slept the “normal” amount (6 to 8 hours per night, as defined by the study).

Compared to that group, those who exercised the least and slept less than 6 hours were 2.5 times more likely to die during those seven years. The least active people who got the recommended sleep were 79% more likely to die, and the risk was slightly higher than those who logged more than 8 hours per night.

But these risks disappeared for participants who were short or long sleepers and who logged at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous activity. That’s 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.

“Exercise combats inflammatory and metabolic dysregulation and abnormal sympathetic nervous system activity,” said study author Jihui Zhang, PhD, of the Affiliated Brain Hospital in Guangzhou, China. These problems are linked to cardiovascular disease and other potentially fatal conditions.

More objective data – with technology

Study results are only as good as the data they are based on. This is why objective data, unaffected by individual perception, is key.

“Self-report questionnaires are prone to misinterpretation, recall, or response bias,” Zhang explains.

Take sleep, for example. The research reveals several factors that can influence how we judge our sleep. When people have to go to bed at irregular times, they often underestimate the number of hours they sleep but overestimate how much time they spend on it. Stady In the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Another study showed that when people are under a lot of stress, they will report more sleep problems than they actually have, as revealed by sleep monitors.

With exercise, participants often Report more exercise, and doing so at a higher intensity, than objective measurements showed they did. At the same time, self-reports usually do not represent a significant part of Unplanned movement and low effort People do it all day long.

Staying active when you’re tired

The study raises a practical question: If you’re not getting the right amount of sleep, how are you supposed to find the time, energy, and motivation to exercise?

The solution is to use one to fix the other.

Exercise and sleep have a “strong directional relationship,” Zhang said. Exercise improves sleep, while better sleep makes it easier to stick to an exercise program.

Ideally, this program will include a mix of cardio and resistance exercise, said Mitch Duncan, PhD, professor of public health at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

As shown by Duncan and colleagues A recent studyDuncan said, “The biggest health benefits occur when people do a combination of aerobic activity and muscle strengthening.”

“In terms of sleep benefits, there does not appear to be consistent evidence that either is more effective.”

the The timing or intensity of the exercise It didn’t seem to matter either.

“But there is evidence that longer duration contributes to greater improvements in sleep,” Duncan said.

In other words, longer workouts are generally better, but not necessarily very intense.

However, the strongest evidence for this shows that recent and regular exercise provides the greatest benefits at bedtime.

Today’s exercises will improve tonight’s sleep. And the better you sleep tonight, the more likely you are to stick to the program.

By admin

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