Going for a run can counter health risks of bad sleep, scientists say
If you’re prone to waking up early, it may be a good idea to go for an early morning run.
Regular exercise can wipe out the heightened risk of an early death in poor sleepers, a study found.
Sleeping too little or too long is linked with a shorter life, but scientists have found that physical activity counteracts a lot of the negative effects.
Using data from more than 92,000 Brits, they found the chances of dying early from either cancer or from a cardiovascular disease – such as a heart attack or stroke – was eliminated by exercise.
Researchers from Guangzhou Medical University, China, studied the health records of participants, aged 40 to 73, who wore an accelerometer wristband for one week between 2013 and 2015.
Sleeping too little or too long is linked with a shorter life, but scientists have found that physical activity counteracts a lot of the negative effects
In the first study to examine the joint effects of physical activity and sleep duration, they found sleeping less than six hours or more than eight increased the chances of an early death by 16 per cent and 37 respectively.
But those who met the World Health Organization targets of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week – such as brisk walking or riding a bike – or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise like running, saw the risk disappear.
When they looked at individual disease, they found those who do not do sufficient exercise and sleep outside the recommended guidelines had a 69 per cent higher risk of heart attack or stroke and 21 per cent higher risk of death from cancer.
Again, these risks were found to disappear with moderate or high levels of exercise, according to the findings published in the journal of the European Society of Cardiology.
Dr Jihui Zhang, who led the research, said: ‘Our findings suggest that health promotion efforts targeting both physical activity and sleep duration may be more effective in preventing or delaying premature death in middle-aged and older adults than focusing on one behaviour alone.
‘In an ideal scenario, people would always get healthy amounts of both sleep and physical activity.
‘However, our study indicates that getting sufficient exercise may partially offset the detrimental impact of missing a good night’s sleep.’