- Poor sleep is associated with higher mortality risks for all-cause, total CVD, and ischaemic stroke.
- Lack of exercise puts you at a higher risk for all-cause mortality, total CVD, and cancer mortality.
- Lack of exercise and poor sleep runs the highest risk for total CVD, total cancer, coronary heart diseases, ischaemic stroke, and lung cancer.
- Levels of PA at or above the minimum amount as recommended by WHO were observed to be healthier and less associated with the detrimental effects that follow poor sleep.
Should I sleep more? Why should I exercise?
If you have heard anything along these lines before, you’ve probably wondered why. What is the importance of these two factors and what role does it play in maintaining your health?
Read on to find out!
Why is sleep important?
Sleep is a requirement for basic function. Evidence has linked the lack of quality sleep with increased risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) , all-cause mortality (big word for death from any cause) and cancer mortality. But how can we define a good night of sleep?
Based on a study that looked at the joint effects of sleep and physical activity on our health, quality sleep comprises of five characteristics:
- Morning chronotype – naturally waking up in the mornings
- Adequate sleep duration (7-8 hours/day)
- A full night’s sleep
- No snoring
- No frequent daytime sleepiness
The study observed 380,000 participants over the course of 11 years and found that participants with poor and intermediate sleep were associated with higher mortality risks for all-causes and CVD.
In addition, participants with poor sleep were associated with ischaemic stroke mortality, while those who got intermediate sleep were associated with increased risks of having coronary heart disease.
Why is exercise important?
Also referred to as Physical Activity (PA), it is the simple act of moving! The World Health Organization (WHO) defines PA as “all movement including during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work.”.
How much exercise should I do? In a week, we should be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity PA or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity PA, during which a balance of cardio and muscle strengthening activities are recommended.
Studies have been able to show that physical activity has a direct correlation to our well-being. Based on the same study that looked at the effects of sleep and PA on our health, participants with high PA levels had the lowest risk for all-cause mortality, while those who did not exercise ran a higher risk for all-cause mortality, CVD, and cancer mortality.
You mean there is an effect of sleep and physical activity on mortality?
Who has the highest risk of mortality of all causes, CVD, coronary heart disease, and lung cancer? Those who lacked sleep and did not exercise compared to those who exercised (between low to high levels of PA), and had adequate rest, suggesting that there is a synergistic effect of sleep and PA on our health.
In addition, participants who exercised at or above the minimum amount as recommended by WHO were observed to be healthier and less associated with the detrimental effects that follow poor sleep, unlike the participants who did not exercise at all.
So what does it mean for me?
It is ironic that this blog was written past midnight, and it seems too common that the normal bedtimes span between midnight to near mornings as we mature. Whilst the lack of sleep seems to have no visible effects on our bodies now, it is a cumulative effect that cannot be reversed.
But getting sufficient sleep is not enough! Exercise is also necessary to maintain your health. More specifically, a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity is a good starting point.
And just in case you were wondering, no, the lack of sleep today cannot be compensated by getting more sleep tomorrow, so if you’re reading this blog in bed, we suggest you turn your phone off and try to get some shut eye before the sun rises in the next few hours.
Unsure on how to get started on your journey to towards more physical activity and a healthier you? Book now (or when you wake up!) and have a chat with our Physiotherapist who will be able to advise you on the safe way to start!
Till then, good night, sweet dreams, and hopefully the Koel bird doesn’t wake you up before you actually need to.
Huang, B., Duncan, M., Cistulli, P., Nassar, N., Hamer, M., & Stamatakis, E. (2021). Sleep and physical activity in relation to all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality risk. British Journal Of Sports Medicine, 56(13), 718-724. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2021-104046