Sleeping vs. Sitting: The Healthier Choice Revealed

According to a new study, sitting can harm your heart health. This article examines the research and what it means for your well-being.

What Were The Study’s Findings?

Dr. Jo Blodgett, the study’s first author and a research fellow with University College London’s Institute of Sport, Exercise, and Health, said the key lesson from the study is that movement intensity matters in protecting your heart health.

She also said the most beneficial change they observed was replacing sitting with vigorous activity such as stair climbing or brisk walking. Dr. Blodgett said it can be any activity that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe faster. However, the study revealed that standing and sleeping are better activities than sitting when dealing with heart health.

How Does Movement Affect Heart Health?

Heart disease is the primary cause of mortality worldwide. The researchers said it was responsible for one in three deaths in 2021. They also said the number of individuals living with heart disease globally has doubled since 1997.

James Leiper, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said it’s already common knowledge that exercise can improve your cardiovascular health, and this research shows small changes to your daily routine can reduce your chances of a heart attack or stroke.

He also said this study shows that replacing a few minutes of sitting with moderate activity can improve your cholesterol, BMI, and waist size.

How Was The Study Conducted?

In the report, UCL researchers used data from six studies involving over 15,000 individuals from five countries. The objective was to determine how movement behavior across a 24-hour day is connected to heart health. Each participant used a wearable device on their thigh to measure their activity throughout the day.

The researchers formed a rank of daily behaviors, with time spent doing moderate-vigorous activity providing the most benefit to heart health. This was followed by light activity, including standing and sleeping, while sitting came in last.

How To Get Active?

Leiper said getting active isn’t always easy, but making changes that boost your heart rate is vital. He also said incorporating “activity snacks” like setting an alarm to get up or walking while taking phone calls is an excellent way to build activity into your day.


Sitting can affect your heart health in the long run. You can prevent this by engaging in light to moderate activity, such as walking around while taking phone calls or doing light stretches in between tasks.