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Keep Active and Ward Off Harmful Effects of Poor Sleep

written by / July 23, 2021
Physical Activity and Sleep

Physical activity and good sleep have a synergistic impact on health, according to a study. Also, higher levels of physical exercise may help to mitigate the detrimental health effects of insufficient sleep.

While the adverse effects of poor sleep and physical inactivity on our health have been widely explored and recorded, only a handful of studies have looked at how these factors interact to increase mortality. 

However, a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine investigated the shared connection of physical exercise and sleep with all-cause and cause-specific mortality risks. Here are the details.

More than 380,000 middle-aged people were monitored throughout the long-term study. The study participants completed interviews and questionnaires to evaluate their baseline health condition, sleep patterns, and physical activity levels. It’s crucial to note that if the participants’ baseline examinations revealed a history of sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, or cancer, they were ruled out of the study. 

The researchers devised a new sleep score because the detrimental health effects of insufficient sleep extend beyond sleep length and quality. Namely, the experts scored participants on a scale of 0 to 5 based on five sleep characteristics: sleep duration, chronotype (morning lark or night owl), daytime sleepiness, snoring, and insomnia. The sleep scores were categorized as poor (0 to 1), intermediate (2 to 3), or healthy (4 or higher). Furthermore, the experts created sleep and physical activity combinations using these scoring methods and other information provided by the participants.

Finally, the experts monitored the participants’ health until May 2020 or until death to determine their risk of passing away from coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, or any other cause. Typically, these illnesses are the most commonly linked to insufficient sleep and lack of physical exercise. Approximately 15,500 people died during the study’s duration. Around 58% were caused by cancer, 26% by cardiovascular disease, and 12% by coronary heart disease. The participants who passed away from coronavirus were eliminated from the analysis.

The findings showed that poor sleep was related to a greater risk of death. In addition, the risk was considerably higher for those with insufficient physical activity. However, experts claim that more research is needed.


Hermina is a linguist, passionate content writer, and fitness enthusiast. Even though she enjoys writing about all kinds of topics, anything health or fashion-related is right up her alley. After attaining her Master's degree in English philology, her love for writing and the desire to pass on information to curious minds is what inspires her to continue on this path.

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