How Much Sleep Do We Need? Here’s What The Research Shows


New Delhi: Nowadays people have a sense of what is healthy and what is not. Like standing is better than sitting, exercise is great for overall health and so is getting a good night’s sleep. However, if exercise in the evening is disrupting our sleep or makes us feel the need to be more sedentary to recover, a key question emerges – what is the best way to balance our 24 hours to optimise our health?

Research attempted to answer this for the risk factors for health issues like heart problems, strokes and diabetes. It was shown that 2.2 hours is the optimal duration for both light and moderate to intensive activity, and 8.3 hours is the optimal length of sleep. According to the most recent health recommendations, we should adhere to a reasonable schedule of 2.5–5 hours a week of moderate to intense physical exercise.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that our daily activities might have a significant impact on our health. Additionally, the amount of time you spend sitting, standing, walking around your home or business, and sleeping is considered moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity. Over 2000 participants who wore body sensors capable of interpreting their bodily behaviours were the subjects of the seven-day study. This offered us an idea of their typical day-to-day activities.

For seven days, the study’s participants were required to wear body sensors that could interpret their movements. This offered us an idea of their typical day-to-day activities. Participants’ blood sugar, insulin sensitivity, and waist circumference were examined at the start of the trial. To build a model, the assessment and body sensor data were matched, analyzed, and tested against health risk indicators including a heart disease and stroke risk score.

Hundreds of 24-hour permutations were run through this model to determine which ones were expected to have the weakest correlations with the risk of heart disease and blood glucose levels. This led to the creation of several perfect pairings of light, moderate, and seated activities.

When it was looked at waist circumference, blood sugar, insulin sensitivity heart disease and stroke risk score, we noted differing optimal time zones. The ideal zone for the risk of diabetes and heart disease was determined by where those zones overlapped with one another. Walking fewer than 100 steps per minute, or light to moderately strenuous physical activity like going to the water cooler or taking a stroll with friends, was found to have a good correlation with glucose control, particularly in individuals with type 2 diabetes. It is more likely that this light exercise is a result of sporadic accumulation throughout the day than it is of deliberate light exercise.

The experimental evidence shows that avoiding sitting for a long time regularly with light-physical activity (such as taking a 3–5 minute walk every hour) can improve our metabolism, especially so after lunch. We classified moderate-to-vigorous physical activity as more than 100 steps per minute, which may seem like a high threshold given that it requires more than two hours each day. That’s equivalent to a brisk stroll.

Furthermore, the data is cross-sectional. As a result, it is unclear whether participant time management practices influence participant risk factors or the other way around. The estimates of time consumption are connected with the disease risk factors. Positive alterations include limiting evening screen time, opting for an active commute instead of a car commute, and raising bedtime to avoid watching television in the evenings.

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