There Could Be a Simple Way to Offset The Negative Health Impacts of Terrible Sleep

According to the UK Biobank research project, staying active and fit can help prevent some of the adverse health effects that low-quality sleep can have on your body. This was proven by a large study of 380055 middle-aged participants. While we all know that exercise is essential for a healthy lifestyle, reality can sometimes get in the way. Research shows that getting enough exercise can offset some of the negative effects of poor sleep. Although exercise and sleep have been proven to be beneficial for health, this study is more interesting because it shows how they interact. Doctors may even be able to offer another option to patients suffering from sleep disorders. Bo-Huei Huang from the University of Sydney, Australia, says that "we found those with the lowest quality sleep and the most exercise were most at-risk of dying from heart disease, stroke and cancer." "The results suggest that there is a synergistic effect or interplay between these behaviors." The team used data from the UK Biobank database over 11 years to determine the average weekly levels of physical activity, as measured in Metabolic equivalent of Task (MET). The World Health Organization (WHO), recommends 150 minutes of moderately intense activity or more than 75 mins of vigorously intensified physical activity per week. This amounts to 600 MET minutes. Participants were divided into three levels of activity (high, medium, or low). They were also assigned a sleep quality score between 0 and 5, based on how much shut-eye they got, their sleepiness, daytime sleepiness, and snoring. The study found that those who slept in poor quality and didn't exercise according to the WHO guidelines were at the highest risk for dying from heart disease or cancer. People with low quality sleep, but who exercised regularly, had a lower risk. For all types of cancer, the risk of death was 45 percent higher for those who were not physically active and at the lowest end of their exercise and sleep scores. However, this risk almost disappeared for those who scored well on both sleep and physical activity. Researchers wrote that levels of physical activity above or below the WHO lower threshold seemed to reduce most of the negative associations with poor sleep and mortality. Although the study doesn't prove that activity is causally related to poor sleep, it does show that there are some benefits to more activity. It's also based on self-reporting and not independent observations. However, scientists will find enough evidence to support the correlation. It's unclear why exercise might compensate for less sleep. Researchers suggest that increased activity could counteract inflammation or reduce irregularities in glucose metabolism. This could be an avenue to investigate in future research. However, it is worth noting that although good-quality sleep and lots of exercise are the ideal, they may not always be mutually exclusive. In addition, getting more exercise can also help with sleep problems. "Both are essential for health, but unfortunately, our society suffers both from a physical inactivity as well as a poor sleeping crisis," says Emmanuel Stamatakis (University of Sydney), a population health researcher. "Considering that physical activity may be more modifiable then sleep, our study provides people with more incentives to exercise and gives health professionals more reasons to recommend physical activity to sleep-related patients." The British Journal of Sports Medicine published the research.

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