What’s More Important; Sleep Or Exercise?

Do you prefer to sleep late or wake up early to workout? Image via telegraph.co.uk
Do you prefer to sleep late or wake up early to workout?
Image via telegraph.co.uk

Are you often caught between the choice for getting an extra hour of much needed sleep or waking up an hour early to get some exercise done?

Since both exercise and sleep are good for us, this predicament is far more common than you’d think. However, the answer as to how one can definitively balance one against the other is not as hard as you might think.

On a cold, dark morning when you find yourself waking up to a cloudy overcast sky, a warm bed can seem insidiously alluring. And for most of us, who have managed to work past midnight, going back to sleep can seem like a far more sensible choice when compared to an early morning jog.

Unfortunately, most of us also have a lifestyle where we are in desperate need of both more sleep and more exercise, and having to choose between the two can be too hard. So how do we choose?

The answer to your problems

Many research studies done across the globe have shown that a good night’s sleep plays a very important role in your workout session. “Exercise, sleep and nutrition form the triangle of health, and all are related,” according to Dr. Phyllis Zee, who is a professor of neurology and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University in Chicago.

In fact, experts believe that for a prolonged and effective workout session, it is very important to have rested for 7 to 8 hours at night. Fewer hours of rest not only results in poor motivation to get out for that jog, it will also adversely affect your level of stamina and energy.

On the other hand, getting at least 30 to 45 minutes of exercise everyday will improve quality of sleep. If you often find yourself going to bed feeling dog tired but then lie awake staring at the ceiling because your mind refuses to ‘switch off’, the reason is simple.

While you are mentally exhausted, you still have a lot of pent up physical energy that keeps restful sleep at bay. So exercise is the key for deep sleep, which is more restorative and effective for memory, performance as well as physical health.

Because sweating and snoozing share a bidirectional relationship, it makes the answer to your predicament simpler – you cannot compromise on either sleep or exercise. And to make sure you get both, it might be better to get an extra hour of sleep in the mornings, but then ensure that you take out an hour from your busy schedule every evening to get some exercise done.

Don’t give up on the Zzz’s

Don’t rob yourself of sleep only to get some exercise, as it could have more repercussions in the longer run. Getting fitter and staying healthy is all good, but always remember that sleep plays an important role in your health as well.

Sleeping lesser to fit a jog in your routine could be counterproductive for your health in many ways, which is why you need to take a good look in to your lifestyle and take a personal call on some days when you absolutely MUST choose between sleep and exercise.

The easiest way to achieve a balance – go to bed 30 to 40 minutes earlier so that you get more sleep, without having to skip gym time in the mornings.

Also read: Does exercise reduce your food intake?

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