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Regular Aerobic Exercise Reverses Adverse Effects of Insufficient Sleep, Study Reveals

A study has revealed that regular aerobic exercise may help counteract the adverse effects of insufficient sleep on endothelial function, specifically endothelium-dependent vasodilation and increased endothelin or ET-1-mediated vasoconstriction.

Regular Aerobic Exercise Reverses Adverse Effects of Insufficient Sleep, Study Reveals
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There were 36 healthy adults that were included in the analysis, among them 16 had normal sleep duration with average age of 57 years, mean sleep duration is 7.4 hours/night and 20 had short sleep duration with average age of 56 years, mean sleep duration is 6.2 hours/night. For those short sleepers, they completed a 3-month aerobic exercise training intervention.

Doing regular aerobic exercise initiates the body to release endorphins. The endorphins are chemicals that can create a level of activity in the brain that will keep a person awake. The person should exercise at least 1 to 2 hours before going to bed, allowing the endorphin levels time to wash out and for the brain time to wind down.

The effect of exercise in some individuals is like taking a hot shower that will wake you up in the morning. Exercising elevates your core body temperature. Elevation in core body temperature signals the body clock that it is time to be awake. But after about 30 to 90 minutes, the core body temperature starts to fall or decline, which helps to facilitate sleepiness.

Experts utilized plethysmography to identify forearm blood flow in response to intra-arterial acetylcholine or Ach, BQ-123 ETA receptor antagonist, Ach + BQ-123, and sodium nitroprusside.

Outcomes showed that comparing with normal sleepers, short sleepers had lower forearm blood flow responses to Ach (from 4.2 to 12.7 mL/100 mL tissue/min vs from 4.2 to 10.5 mL/100 mL tissue/min.

Resting forearm blood flow revealed a significantly greater increase, in response to BQ-123, in the short-sleep group than in the normal-sleep group (25% vs 8%). In the meantime, for Ach + BQ-123, only the short-sleep group exhibited a marked increase in the Ach-mediate vasodilation.

Exercise training, among the short sleepers, led to a significantly high Ach-mediated vasodilation (~20%), a low ET-1 mediated vasoconstriction (~80%). Also, the vasodilator response to Ach revealed no increase with ETA receptor blockade. These were all achieved despite the unchanged nightly sleep duration having an average of 6.4 hours/night.


Source: Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol2021;320:H1080-H1088

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