Good sleep and a healthy exercise regime are the two crucial factors researchers prescribe for longevity.

Apart from making you feel tired, poor sleep can induce several health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. However, a new study suggests that even if you miss a good night's slumber, getting sufficient exercise can reduce the damage caused by sleep deprivation, and even help you live longer.

The study was the first of its kind research that analyzed the combined effects of physical activity and sleep duration on mortality risk. The research was conducted on 92,221 adults from the U.K. Biobank, who were between the ages of 40 and 73.

The researchers used an accelerometry wrist device on the participants to record movement and classified their physical activity into low, intermediate, and high categories based on WHO guidelines.

The sleep duration was classified as short when the sleep was less than six hours, normal when the participants received six to eight hours of sleep, and long when participants slept more than eight hours.

The researchers, who conducted a seven-year follow-up, determined that 3,080 participants died, out of which 1,074 deaths were from heart diseases and 1,871 from cancer.

The participants who had short sleep had 31% and long sleep had a 20% risk of all-cause death when they did not meet the WHO recommended level of activity. Meanwhile, the scientists found that those participants who exercised a lot were not affected by poor sleep at all.

The short sleepers with a low volume of exercise were at a 69% higher risk associated with cardiovascular deaths and long sleepers with low exercise volume were at a 21% increased risk of cancer, the researchers said.

"The study showed that increased physical activity levels weakened the mortality risks associated with short or long sleep duration," the study author, Dr. Jihui Zhang of The Affiliated Brain Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, China, said, the European Society of Cardiology reported.

"Our findings suggest that health promotion efforts targeting both physical activity and sleep duration may be more effective in preventing or delaying premature death in middle-aged and older adults than focusing on one behavior alone. In an ideal scenario, people would always get healthy amounts of both sleep and physical activity. However, our study indicates that getting sufficient exercise may partially offset the detrimental impact of missing a good night's sleep," Dr. Zhang added.

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The researchers found that those participants who exercised a lot were not affected by poor sleep at all. pixabay