Physical activity may offset short sleep duration increase in CVD mortality

Kenneth Palmer

April 09, 2023

2 min read

The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

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Physical activity may offset the increased CVD mortality that is associated with unusual sleep duration, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

“To our knowledge, the present study was the first to use accelerometry to document the joint association of physical activity and sleep duration with all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality,” Yannis Yan Liang, MD, PhD, of the Guangdong Cardiovascular Institute, Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital and Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences in Guangdong, China, and colleagues wrote.

Man exercising

Physical activity may offset the increased CVD mortality that is associated with unusual sleep duration.
Image: Adobe Stock

In a population-based cohort study using data from the UK Biobank between February 2013 and December 2015, 92,221 participants were divided into groups based on sleep duration, volume of physical activity and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) based on WHO guidelines.

Most of the participants reported a normal sleep duration, whereas 19.7{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} reported a long sleep duration and 7.1{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} reported a short sleep duration. One-third of the participants had a low volume of physical activity, and 39.1{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} did not meet MVPA recommended targets.

After a median follow-up period of 7 years, 3,080 all-cause deaths occurred, with 1.16{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} of those deaths from CVD and 2.03{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} from cancer.

The researchers found that short sleep duration was associated with all-cause (HR = 1.34; 95{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} CI, 1.18-1.51) and CVD (HR = 1.56; 95{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} CI, 1.29-1.89) mortality, but was not significantly associated with cancer mortality.

In addition, compared with those who had normal sleep duration and guideline-recommended MVPA, those who had long or short sleep duration and did not achieve guideline-recommended MVPA had elevated risk for all-cause mortality (HR for short sleep duration = 1.88; 95{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} CI, 1.61-2.2; HR for long sleep duration = 1.69; 95{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} CI, 1.49-1.9), the researchers wrote.

The researchers also found that MVPA exceeding the recommendations decreased all-cause (HR = 0.67; 95{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} CI, 0.48-0.59), CVD (HR = 0.61; 95{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} CI, 0.52-0.71) and cancer (HR = 0.73; 95{af0afab2a7197b4b77fcd3bf971aba285b2cb7aa14e17a071e3a1bf5ccadd6db} CI, 0.65-0.81) mortality.

When examining the joint association of physical activity and sleep duration, the researchers found that high volume of physical activity or WHO-recommended MVPA reduced the detrimental impact of abnormal sleep duration.

“Our study using accelerometry offered robust evidence supporting the large body of research relying on self-reported data, showing independent associations of physical activity and sleep duration with mortality,” Liang and colleagues wrote.

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