Did you sleep badly? 20 minutes of exercise is enough to make up for lost sleep


Sleeping badly is not the best, you know. Although good sleep is one of the most important requirements for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, many studies report that 40% of the world’s population does not sleep well. Everyone has at least once in their life spent a sleepless night or rested for fewer hours than necessary, with disastrous consequences the next day. The most common include poor concentration, fatigue and irritability. But is there a cure for fully restoring lost rest? If you’re thinking about a classic afternoon nap or drinking liters of coffee, you’re wrong…

Two groups. This is according to a study published in the journal Physiology and behaviorJust 20 minutes of moderate physical exercise would be enough to remedy this. Research led by a team of scientists from the University of Portsmouth (Great Britain) analyzed two different experiments, each with 12 volunteers (a total of 19 men and five women).

The first test analyzed the effects of partial sleep deprivation on participants’ cognitive abilities, while the second examined the consequences of a sleepless night, including some respiratory disorders related to poor rest (such as so-called “nocturnal hypoxia”, consisting of low oxygen levels).

Economical driving. The first group of individuals were allowed to sleep only five hours a night for three days, while each morning they were assigned seven tasks to repeat after twenty minutes of exercise on a bicycle. Finally, the volunteers were asked to rate their mood and how sleepy they felt before completing the tasks. Subsequent analyzes of cognitive levels revealed that little sleep affects each person differently, which is probably a circumstance caused by different individual resistance to fatigue.

Despite these differences, however, an improvement in the mental performance of all participants and also in their mood was evident after the ride. In the second experiment, people stayed awake all night and were then transferred to a controlled environment with lower amounts of oxygen. Despite the difficult environmental conditions, even in this case, physical exercise continued to improve cognitive performance.

Mechanisms for further investigation. The study authors hypothesized reasons that explain the mental benefits of training. However, the theory linked to increased cerebral blood flow and increased oxygenation during exercise did not fully convince them, given that intellectual results were good even in low-oxygen environments.

Instead, the research seems to suggest that improvements do not depend exclusively on regions of the brain’s prefrontal cortex (essential for task performance), but are the product of a series of coordinated processes widely distributed across different brain regions.

endangered category. The future goal is to reveal what neurobiological mechanisms are activated in these cases, which will help everyone who suffers from sleep disorders or sleep apnea, but also parents of small children forced to constantly wake up and night workers.


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