Study: Regular Exercise Can Make Up for Lack of Sleep

Years of scientific study have revealed just how important good sleep is. When people don’t sleep enough, they are susceptible to all sorts of diseases. Unfortunately, there are lots of things that can keep us awake at night. But there is good news. A new study out of Australia suggests that regular exercise can make up for lack of sleep.

Researchers followed more than 380,000 middle-aged adults for 11 years. Their data reflected each one’s physical activity along with five different aspects of their sleep. Researchers discovered that those who got regular exercise didn’t present as many high-risk factors regardless of whether or not they got enough sleep.

The study is absolutely fascinating. Of course, the summation provided here doesn’t do it justice. Furthermore, it is not okay to purposely sleep less because you are getting more exercise. Your body still needs proper rest to stay healthy. The only point is to say that regular exercise can make up for losing some sleep every now and again.

More About the Study

The researchers looked at a lot of different things to figure out the relationship between sleep and exercise. They categorized each person in the database according to WHO guidelines for physical activity. They also looked at a number of illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.

According to the data, people with poor sleeping habits presented the following:

  • 39% greater risk of dying from heart disease
  • 23% greater risk of premature death
  • 13% greater of dying from cancer.

The cancer numbers are especially intriguing. Patients who exercise little and have poor sleep habits are 45% more likely to die of cancer than those who get good sleep and regular exercise. Even those participants who had poor sleep habits but still got regular exercise did not demonstrate an elevated risk of cancer.

Researchers concluded that a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week offset the negative impacts of not getting enough sleep. That is pretty important.

Exercise Type Isn’t Important

At this point it is appropriate to mention that the type of exercise one gets is not as important as the exercise itself. Whether exercise is considered moderate or vigorous depends on cardio intensity and its ability to make you sweat. Simply put, you are getting good exercise if you’re sweating.

According to Mcycle Studios, a Salt Lake City, Utah indoor cycling studio, spinning classes are a great option. They are high-energy but low impact. Furthermore, classes are taught by experienced instructors who know how to motivate students through choreographed rides, high-energy music, and plenty of encouraging words.

Needless to say, taking a spinning class will make you sweat. But organized classes are not necessary. You can ride a stationary bike in your family room or basement. You can take a regular bike out into the neighborhood. You can jog, swim, play tennis, and on and on. The options are only limited by what you are able and willing to do.

Work on Sleeping Better

In closing, it is a good idea to work on sleeping better if you have trouble in that area. There is plenty of expert advice available online. You can also talk to your doctor as well. Working on sleeping better can only enhance the benefits you are already getting from regular exercise. The two together are a dynamic force for maintaining good health.

If you are not sleeping as well as you could be, at least take comfort in the fact that regular exercise can make up for the lack of sleep. If you’re not exercising, change that.