A study sampling 380,055 people over the course of 11 years, has found that going on brisk walks totalling just two-and-a-half hours every week was enough to prevent premature death caused by lack of sleep.
According to the research, those practicing exercise in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines were less likely to suffer from strokes, heart disease and cancer. Exercising by going on walks that lasted at least two-and-a-half hours or running for one hour and 15 minutes every week was enough to significantly reduce the likelihood of prematurely dying from insufficient sleep.
Researchers found that those who regularly slept poorly and practiced low-levels of exercise had 57% higher chances of dying prematurely compared to those who exercised frequently and slept better as a result. Further findings also showed that more sedentary lifestyles that promoted inadequate sleep increased the chances of developing cardiovascular disease by 67% and cancer by 45%.
Sleep needed to improve health
Of the total samples that participated in the study, for which the average age was of 65 years old, 15,900 died by the time the research was concluded. 6,477 of those who died were victims of a cardiovascular disease; 9,064 died of cancer and 359 succumbed to a brain haemorrhage. Researchers involved in the study concluded that:
Our results support the value of interventions to concurrently target (physical activity) and sleep to improve health.