Is Getting an Extra Hour of Sleep Better Than Exercising?
Sleep deprivation sucks.
You lay there in bed and trying to decide what time you need to set your alarm for tomorrow. As you are trying to figure out the time, you know that you could get a full seven hours of sleep if you were to wake up at your normal time, or you could wake up an hour earlier and exercise.
Related - 25 Tips to Get a Better Night's Sleep
Which should you choose?
You Need to Prioritize Sleep
While it may sound like a good idea to get up extra early to get a workout in, your quality and quantity of sleep is just as important to your body.
If you have to choose one or the other, you should choose to sleep. Getting adequate amounts of sleep will give your body the time it needs to replenish, repair, and refresh your cellular functioning.
Skimping out on sleep will negatively impact performance — both cognitive and athletic.
Most experts agree that choosing sleep is the better call. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. This will give us optimal performance, increased memory retention, and overall better health.
Getting a good night's sleep largely depends on our commitment to our circadian rhythm. This is the time we are naturally ready to go to bed and wake up. A study from Northwestern suggests that our muscles also follow the same circadian cycle — meaning if you work out during the time you normally sleep, your muscle repair will be less efficient.
But Don't Forget the Exercise
Just because experts give you a pass on choosing exercising oversleep, that doesn't mean you should skip it.
We have to exercise to maintain overall health. Studies have shown that exercise changes our brain and is critical to our brain health. So what's good for our bodies is also good for our brain.
When you exercise, you're feeding your brain with increased blood flow and more oxygen.
A Short Workout Is Better Than Nothing
If you are pressed for time and you really can't come up with any time to exercise, a short workout is better than no workout.
A simple 10-minute quick workout at home with some simple bodyweight exercises like squats, jumping jacks, planks, and push-ups will do the trick.
Movement is life, so get up and move.
Sample 10 Minute Workout
Don't believe me that you can get a decent workout in 10 minutes?
Try this home bodyweight circuit.
- Spend 2 minutes stretching and getting your body ready for movement.
- Perform jumping jacks for 20 seconds for three sets, with a 15-second rest between sets.
- Superset push-ups with planks by performing 10 push-ups and holding a plank for 20 seconds on the last push up rep for 2 sets.
- Perform walking lunges for 60 seconds for two sets with a 30-second rest between sets.
- Lastly, spend 60 seconds to cool down.
That will take you about 10 minutes to complete and hits the majority of your body. Perform these exercises with as much intensity as possible — keeping the rest to a minimum.
Don't Make Excuses
If you're always short on time, you need to stop and take a look at your daily habits. Those three hours we zone out on YouTube add up.
Start tracking where your time is going — start journaling your days or start block scheduling your days so you can see where you are wasting time. Tracking your days will give you an insight into your day-to-day life, and where you are spending too much time.
A lot of us spend too much time on social media, watching TV, or scrolling through Netflix for something we haven't seen yet. And that's okay.
This becomes a problem when you become unaware of all of the wasted time. I promise that you can find 30 to 45 minutes somewhere in your day to exercise.
Wrapping It Up
It doesn't matter how hard you exercise — if you aren't getting adequate sleep, you're robbing yourself of progress.
I've had to tell friends that would come over daily to stop coming over due to me losing sleep. Prioritizing the things that are important to your health and well-being is essential to living a healthy life.
If you've been running low on sleep, your body doesn't have enough time to repair itself. Your cognitive abilities are slower, your memory is weak, your physical performance suffers, and your mood is going to be bad.
Let's not forget about all of the sugary snacks we crave when we are sleep deprived.