Sleep is an essential part of your day and makes up one of the 4 (sleep, stress management, nutrition, and exercise) easy, but effective components of daily health. In our Boulder Physical Therapy practice, sleep is often left out of these 4 essential elements of daily health. While researchers have identified some individuals who can function well on 4-5 hours of sleep most of us will require 7-9 hours of sleep per night in order to have optimal function and health. The research continues to increase on the importance of sleep, why we sleep, and what specific physiological mechanisms are at play during these hours. Recent research documented the link between poor sleep quality and lack of physical activity on risk for early mortality or death.
Huang and colleagues published their study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2021). Researchers sought to examine the association between the combined effects of poor sleep quality and lack of physical activity on mortality. They included close to 400K participants from an English database and identified exercise and sleep habits of each person. Participants were then followed for an average of 11 years to determine the impact of these two health habits on all cause death and death from cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, heart disease). Authors reported the known risks of early death associated with poor sleep quality were exacerbated by low levels of physical activity. They recommended both behaviors should be targeted in clinical practice including Physical Therapy.