New research has discovered how to improve the physical and cognitive performance of people who sleep poorly.
Having a busy day, worrying about daily life and personal problems often exhausts the mind and all you want to do is lie in bed and rest. However, many times we wake up with the feeling of not having had enough rest , and the head continues to spin due to problems, affecting cognitive performance.
Sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, experts recommend between seven and nine hours per night in adults. However, recent reviews indicate that 40% of the world’s population does not get enough sleep.
That’s why new research has explored how sleep, oxygen levels, and exercise affect our ability to perform mental tasks.
20 Minute Method to Survive a Bad Night’s Sleep
The dream plays an important role in activating cognitive functions and maintaining good psychological health . During sleep, particularly during the REM (rapid eye movement) and deep sleep phases, information learned during the day is consolidated. This means that memories become stronger and organized, which contributes to learning and long-term memory.
Have good quality sleep This is the key to emotional processing. During REM sleep, it has been observed that emotions are processed, which can help regulate mood and improve the ability to cope with stressful situations. Additionally, it is crucial for physical and mental recovery. During deep sleep, hormones are released that promote tissue repair and growth, as well as energy recovery. It also helps keep the brain healthy by eliminating waste.
The consequences of chronic sleep deprivation include cardiovascular disease, obesity, neurodegenerative disorders and depression. In the short term, lack of sleep can reduce cognitive performance (CP), thereby affecting attention span, judgment and emotional state.
Study led by the University of Portsmouth, discovered that Cognitive performance improves during moderate-intensity exercise, regardless of the person’s sleep state or oxygen levels.
The researchers conducted two experiments with 12 healthy adult participants each (24 people in total). The first examined the impact of partial sleep deprivation on a person’s cognitive performance, and the second examined the impact of complete sleep deprivation in a state of hypoxia (low oxygen level in the body).
All participants completed a 20-minute cycling session, which resulted in improved cognitive performance in all conditions. “As we consider ejercicio as a positive intervention, we decide to use a program of modern intensity, as we recommend existing literature”, added Dr. Joe Costello, of the Escuela de Ciencias del Deporte, la Salud y el Ejercicio (SHES) of the University, in one release .
“We know from existing research that exercise improves or maintains our cognitive performance, even when oxygen levels are reduced. “But this is the first study to suggest that it also improves cerebral palsy after total and partial sleep deprivation and when associated with hypoxia,” notes Dr. Costello.
In the study, published in Physiology and behavior, Participants in the first experiment were allowed only five hours of sleep per night for three days and were given seven tasks to complete while resting, followed by 20 minutes of cycling. In the second experiment, participants went an entire night without sleep and were then placed in a hypoxic (low oxygen levels) environment.
The results showed that regardless of sleep state, moderate-intensity exercise improved performance in all tasks, even at low oxygen levels.
One possible hypothesis as to why cognitive performance improves with exercise is that it could be due to changes in the amount of regulatory hormones in the brain, as well as a number of psychophysiological factors, including flow cerebral blood flow, excitement and motivation.
This suggests that Cognitive performance does not depend solely on the brain’s prefrontal cortex which is one of the most developed brain areas in humans and plays a crucial role in various complex cognitive and behavioral functions.
“It regulates our thoughts, actions and emotions and is considered the main part of the brain associated with executive functions,” explains Juan Ignacio Badariotti, co-senior author of the study. Department of Psychology of the University.
The researchers believe that cognitive performance is not limited to this area, but rather could be taken into account. “It is the product of a series of coordinated processes widely distributed in different cortical and subcortical regions.” Badariotti explains.
The study could help anyone suffering from sleep problems or low oxygen levels, including climbers and skiers, but also parents of young children and shift workers.
“Lack of sleep is often associated with other stressors. » says Dr. Thomas Williams, co-lead author of the university’s Extreme Environments Research Group.
Although it is better to get enough sleep rather than looking for a solution to the few hours of sleep, “The findings significantly expand what we know about the relationship between exercise and these stressors, and help reinforce the message that movement is medicine for the body and brain.”
The article recommended further research to reveal the neurobiological mechanisms behind the process of cognitive function and acknowledged that the study included only young, healthy people and that several participants were withdrawn due to adverse events.