Sleeping or light activity found to lift mood better than binge-watching TV

June 15, 2020

A recent study suggests that replacing sedentary screen time with other activities may improve mood and body mass index (BMI) instead of hours of TV-binge watching. Researchers at Ohio State University (OSU), US, said sleeping or doing light housework  is “more refreshing” than spending  hours sitting in front of a screen – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

The OSU study analysed 423 participants ranging from 21 to 35 years of age, with BMI values of 20–35. The participants were each made to wear an activity tracking armband and closely monitored for 10 consecutive days. During this time, participants’ moods were self-reported using the Profile of Mood States; Cohen’s 10-item Perceived Stress Scale measured their perception of stress; and at least three separate height and weight measurements, on average, were taken for each participant to determine their BMI.

Cumulative reports a year later revealed the benefits of replacing time spent sedentary with light exercise and/or sleep: prolonged periods of sedentary behavior led to poorer health and mood while moderate-to-high levels of physical activity had the greatest health and mood benefit and a lasting reduction in BMI. The researchers were also surprised after seeing the positive effects of sleep on participants. They correlated getting more sleep with feeling less stressed, being in a better mood, and even having a lower body mass index (BMI).

OSU Scholar Jacob Meyer sees real benefits from less demanding activities, such as walking around as people talk on their phones or simply doing a light jig as they prepare dinner.

“People may not even think about some of these activities as physical activity,” Meyer said. “Light activity is much lower intensity than going to the gym or walking to work, but taking these steps to break up long periods of sitting may have an impact.”


Category: Education, Features

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