September 28, 2023

A study finds that getting too little sleep can ruin your gym gains!

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It is not new to say that keeping your body healthy is essential to a fulfilling life, and one of the best ways to achieve this goal is through regular physical exercises. Numerous studies have proven that this practice helps prevent chronic diseases, increase life expectancy, prevent dementia, and delay cognitive decline.

However, in addition to this, we must not neglect the importance of the hours devoted to sleep, especially when it comes to the benefits of exercise and brain function as we age.

In recent research conducted by the Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare at University College London, scientists have discovered a surprising relationship between exercise, amount of sleep, and cognitive decline. For a better understanding, keep reading the information we provide below.

Read more: 4 essential habits for staying young and healthy

cognitive decline

According to the study, people who exercise frequently and intensely, but sleep less than six hours per night, have a more accelerated cognitive decline compared to those who sleep little, but also exercise less.

Mikaela Bloomberg, the researcher in charge of the study, stresses the importance of these findings: “Our results indicate that getting enough sleep may be a prerequisite for taking advantage of all the cognitive benefits that regular practice of physical exercise provides.”

This finding brings a new perspective on the relationship between sleep and physical activity, showing that both are equally important for maintaining a healthy body and brain.

Secrets revealed after a decade of study

Over the course of a decade, a group of dedicated researchers have closely followed the lives of nearly 9,000 adults in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging. Sponsored by the UK government and the prestigious US National Institute on Aging, the study sought to unlock the secrets of a healthy mind in old age.

Every two years, participants undergo an initial assessment, as well as interviews with different followers, as well as cognitive tests. It is indicated that individuals who were diagnosed with dementia or who had test results indicative of cognitive decline were excluded from the study from the beginning, in order to obtain more accurate results.

The results of this innovative study were recently published in the renowned journal The Lancet Healthy Longevity and bring a surprising discovery: regular practice of physical activity and adequate sleep are two determinants of improving cognitive function over the years.

People who exercised more intensely and regularly, who combined this healthy habit with an average of six to eight hours of sleep each night, showed more preserved cognitive function as they aged.

Also read: Healthy living: Watch 4 health problems that exercise helps to avoid!

The study included younger and slimmer subjects

The most physically active participants in the study were younger, thinner, married or with a partner, and were less likely to smoke, drink, or suffer from depression, as well as other chronic illnesses. In addition, they had higher levels of education and wealth than the less active group.

However, even with all of these benefits, at the end of the 10-year period, highly active individuals in their 50s and 60s who slept less than six hours a night had lost the advantage that exercise provided.

They experienced faster cognitive decline and performed at similar levels to those who did not exercise.