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How Can Physical Activities Counter The Negative Health Effects Of Poor Sleep?

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Sleep is a vital aspect of our health, both physical and mental. Inferior quality of sleep and lack of physical activity have independent negative implications on our health. An extensive study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine has shown that high levels of physical activity can help counter the negative effects of sleep deprivation. So how are physical activity and sleep-related?

The association between sleep and physical activity

The association between sleep and physical activity has been done with the help of the study of around 380,000 middle-aged men and women. The study conclusively showed that the participants who slept least were at risk to contract heart diseases. Participants who had poor or moderate levels of physical activity coupled with low quality of sleep were found to be at an even higher risk level for contracting cardiovascular diseases.

Healthy sleeping periods already resulted in healthier cardiovascular conditions and better functioning of the body. Moderate to high levels of physical activity and healthy sleep levels resulted in the best health conditions for people.

What was a new finding from the research was that high levels of physical activities (which refers to 1200 or more Metabolic Equivalent Minutes per week), can help in reducing the risk of diseases related to low levels of sleep. Thus even if you are missing out on sleep due to a heavy workload, maintaining a healthy level of physical activity can help you reduce the risks to your health. Moreover, a regular exercise routine can also improve the quality of sleep.

Regular exercise can help healthy adults sleep better. While acute physical activity can have a small effect on sleep quality and duration, regular, moderate exercise can extend sleep duration, improve sleep quality, and decrease sleep onset, or the time it takes to fall asleep

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Incorporate physical activities as a part of your routine

Cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and obesity are just some of the physical inactivity risks to our bodies. You can easily avoid any complications by including these simple but effective physical activities into your daily routine:

  • Walking for 20 minutes daily can boost your health significantly. Including the simple activity of walking as part of your daily routine accounts for great health. 
  • Taking stairs instead of elevators is an effective method of including physical activity in your routine. 
  • Try small exercises even while sitting on your chair during your work hours. Try simple exercises like calf lifts, tricep dips, arm circles, etc. These are easy exercises which anyone can do. Incorporating such exercises will help you maintain your health even if you cannot take time out of your schedule for a dedicated workout. 
  • Try making small workout schedules in a week, so that you can gradually build your way up to a more rigorous exercise schedule. 
  • Consistency is the magic mantra to health rather than a very extensive workout schedule. Consistent workout automatically leads to more extensive workout routines, which benefit your health very positively. 
  • Try changing your workout plan every once in a while to keep yourself interested and motivated. 
  • Develop a steady mindset to exercise even a little bit every day and avoid any excuses you can make. 

Some tips to help one sleep peacefully include- keeping a regular routine, keeping technology at bay when in bed, relaxing with a warm bath, or light music before sleep, and decluttering your mind.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Ensure a healthy sleep schedule by following sleep hygiene tips

Sleep hygiene refers to a set of habits that can be practised for a better quality of sleep. A sound sleep not only keeps your body healthy but is also great for your mental health. Try following some simple steps in order to sleep better at night: 

  • Follow a sleep schedule where you habitually go to sleep at a fixed time period in the night. Habitually sleeping within a certain time period adjusts your body to a sleep schedule and helps you sleep well. 
  • Avoid the consumption of a heavy meal or caffeinated drinks before heading to sleep. 
  •  Try sleeping earlier at night and wake up early in the morning. At least 7 to 9 hours of sleep can keep your body fit and help you get more done throughout the day. 
  • Waking up very late in the day or taking naps in the daytime can harm your sleep. Try only sleeping at night, when your body needs rest. 
  • Avoid watching TV or eating on your bed and keep your bed, pillows and sheets in order. It has been seen that if you only use your bed for sleeping, then the body is accustomed to falling asleep faster when you go to sleep on the bed. 
  • Make it a habit to stay away from E – gadgets 1 to 2 hours before you go to sleep, as it can hamper your sleep. Avoid blue light from screens as much as you can, as blue light has been associated with troubles in falling asleep. 
  • The practice of a relaxation technique or a small guided meditation before sleeping can be very helpful.
  • Keep your room well ventilated and organised, declutter anything that’s unnecessary.

Lack of physical activity and proper sleep is unhealthy for the body. Incorporating a good sleep schedule and a physical activity routine is crucial in maintaining your health at an optimal level. Our work and other responsibilities often lead to a lack of proper sleep. If such is the case, do try and include a high level of physical activity in your routine, as it can help you reduce the negative effects of sleep deprivation. A healthy diet should also be followed if you really want to see the effects of a good sleep schedule and an active lifestyle.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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