Exercise can offset some harmful effects of poor sleep

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You know that exercise is good for you, and you’ve heard that good sleep is essential for health. But what happens if you’re not getting enough shut-eye?

New research has some hopeful news: regular exercise might help make up for some of the bad effects of poor sleep on your lifespan.

Exercise and Sleep: A Health-Boosting Duo

Doctors have always told us that we need both exercise and sleep to stay healthy. But the relationship between the two hasn’t been clear until now.

A recent study, led by Dr. Jihui Zhang from Guangzhou Medical University in China, offers some fresh insights.

This study was unique because it used wearable wristbands to accurately track the physical activity and sleep patterns of more than 90,000 adults, aged 40 to 73, in the UK. The researchers followed these folks for about seven years.

What they found was pretty amazing: more physical activity weakened the risk of dying early that’s associated with either too little or too much sleep.

During the seven-year period, out of the 90,000-plus participants, 3,080 people died—some from heart issues and others from cancer.

Exercise as a Lifesaver, Even with Bad Sleep

Here’s how the math worked out:

For those who were less active and slept poorly (either too little or too much), the risk of dying from any cause was higher. Specifically, it increased by 16% for those who slept too little and by 37% for those who slept too much.

For the moderate exercisers who also slept too little, the risk of dying from any cause jumped by 41%.

However, among the most active people, poor sleep didn’t seem to impact the risk of dying early at all.

The study also found similar patterns for death due to heart issues and cancer.

What Does This Mean For You?

So, should you ditch your bed and live at the gym? No, that’s not the takeaway. Sleep is still crucial for many aspects of health.

But the study suggests that if you sometimes struggle with getting a good night’s sleep, making sure you stay active could help balance things out.

Dr. Zhang sums it up well: “In a perfect world, everyone would get healthy amounts of sleep and exercise.

But if you can’t always get good sleep, our study shows that staying active can help offset some of the negative effects.”

In other words, this isn’t an “either-or” situation. Exercise and sleep both contribute to a longer, healthier life, but if you’re falling short in the sleep department, don’t forget to move more. It could be a lifesaver.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about herb that could help you sleep well at night, and these drugs could lower severity of sleep apnea by one third.

For more information about sleep, please see recent studies that coffee boosts your physical activity, cuts sleep, affects heartbeat, and results showing how to deal with “COVID-somnia” and sleep well at night.

The research findings can be found in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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