Sleep or Exercise: Which Is More Important?

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It’s an age-old debate that I’m sure you’ve engaged in with family, friends, or colleagues at some point. What’s more important: sleep or exercise?

We’re all incredibly busy and we feel spread thin already, so many of us have that internal debate when it’s time to hit the gym: do we skip our workout, or lose an hour of sleep and rest?

Well, doctors have weighed in and the answer is pretty clear.

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According to Dr. Edward Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic, “I couldn’t choose between the two. Sleep and exercise are like food and water.”

In other words, plan your life accordingly so you’ll be able to do both, because both are so important to our well being as humans. Go to sleep at a decent time so you can get seven to nine hours of sleep, and schedule your exercise routine at a time that won’t interfere with work and social obligations with family and friends.

Yes, that is easier said than done.

Here are the pros and cons of both missing a workout and losing out on sleep. Look them over and then you can decide for yourself.

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Pros of sleeping in and missing a workout include feeling rested so your next exercise session will be even better, and you’re giving your body much-needed recovery time…maybe even more than you realize.

The cons are you’ll obviously miss a workout, which is never good, and you could actually be sleeping too much. One study says that people who sleep less than four hours a night and more than eight hours a night both have the same risk of dying from heart disease.

Now, on to the pros and cons of losing sleep in order to do your workout.

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The pros of this situation are that you’ll sleep better the night that you choose this path because exercise always has an impact on sleep quality, even if you have insomnia or sleep apnea. Another con is that you’re helping your mental health every time you exercise.

And now for the negatives…

Your workout might not be as beneficial because your muscles function the same way your brain does. If your muscles think you should be sleeping, they might not function quite as well.

Also, you might be hungrier if you decide to skip sleep for the workout. A study showed that sleep-deprived people had higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you hungry, reduces calorie burn, and boosts fat retention.

Another study showed that lack of sleep can make dieting hard because it increases a chemical that makes eating more pleasurable…and that’s not good.

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Like I said, ideally you can do both and use your time wisely, but we know that isn’t always so easy with life obligations.

Therefore, do what’s best for you.

What do you think? Talk to us in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!