We have all been faced with that situation over and over again. When the alarm goes off in the morning, do we get up to exercise or do we give in and hit the snooze because we had a late night out? Its common knowledge that both plenty of sleep and exercise are crucial to our health. But is there really one that is more important than the other?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so clear cut. Having quality sleep and regular exercise together keeps our body functioning at its best. In fact, these two go hand in hand. This means that skipping one to do the other isn’t always the best thing to do.
Experts have recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Running low on sleep means less energy and less motivation to get up and exercise. In fact, the extra exertion when sleep-deprived leads to greater fatigue.
Does that mean that hitting the snooze button is more important to your health than exercise? Not necessarily. Once you start skipping your workouts, your sleep is going to suffer. It is a known fact that exercising regularly during the day will help you sleep much more soundly at night.
What if you have to choose one or the other?
The amount of sleep differs from person to person. So if you aren’t sleeping the recommended 7-9 hours a night, but still wake up feeling rested, then why not get up and do your exercises instead of snoozing?
But the situation is different when you wake up groggy. All of us have had mornings where your eyes don’t to want to open and you have to physically peel back your eyelids. If this happens only occasionally then it won’t hurt to still get up and do your exercises. Just think of it this way, if you have a great work out early in the day then you are more likely to get a better night’s sleep that night. Try thinking about moving your exercise routine outside. If you are slightly groggy, but have the will power to get up anyways then go outside in the sunshine. It is amazing how the fresh air can clear the mind of cobwebs. And the exposure to bright morning light suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin, so that you are able to feel more energized.
If you are completely exhausted then take your rest because you will end up feeling weaker, and crabbier throughout the day. There are always the circumstances of preparing a wedding, or having finals that wipe you out. Sleep it off and then get back to your routines once you have more rest under your belt. Take a look at your schedule and habits to figure out where you can make some changes for your health. Or, if your life already has a crazy schedule and you don’t have enough time to do both then consider doing shorter, but more intensive exercise routines. Experts agree that 20 or 30 minute workouts are just as beneficial as the longer, slower paced routines.
At those crazy times of your life, squeeze in a nap and short workouts a few times a week. Do your best, and then when your schedule becomes more regular then come up with time for a good night’s sleep and your work out routines.
Summarized by: Colbi Judd
Rosie Osmun, What’s More Important: Exercise Or Sleep? www.mindbodygreen.com