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It’s tough but sometimes we have to skip our workouts simply because we need the sleep. Every day can be a dilemma as to what time you should set your alarm for and, last thing at night, you might not want to set the clock an hour earlier to get a workout in the next day.

Many might think you’re toughing it out if you wake up earlier regardless, but the answer is not as simple as it may seem. For example, it’s true that you need good sleep, but exercise also helps you sleep soundly. So how do we find a balance?

Don’t cut back on your sleep

Both sleep and exercise are vital for your wellbeing and mood, and with proper planning you won’t have to compromise on either. If you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely have to choose, then don’t cut back on your sleep because it’s incredibly restorative. Adults need between seven to nine hours sleep according to the CDC; if you fail to get this, you can expect issues with your memory, vision and overall health.

A big part of getting a good night’s sleep is making sure to regularise your circadian rhythm. You can do this by going to sleep and waking up at similar times every day. Your body expects to repair and rest at certain times, which is why it can help your recouperation to keep regular times.

Exercise can help your sleep

If you’ve had a great workout then it’ll likely help you sleep soundly that night, but that doesn’t mean you can use exercise to compensate for a lack of sleep because cutting back on sleep can affect your health. Exercise has both physical and emotional benefits, and we’re obviously massive advocates, so don’t cut back on exercise either. If you’re short on time, perhaps your best path is to get a short workout in at a convenient time, instead of skipping your workout altogether. Because remember… the least effective workout you get will be better than the best workout you skip. You can get an effective workout in your own home by combining bodyweight exercises such as squats, burpees and plank.

If you find yourself short on time…

If you find yourself choosing between exercise or sleep, it might be that you should stop and think about what’s going on. Keep a simple diary to break down exactly how you’re spending your time and so you can ask yourself whether you’re actually wasting your time. If you’re watching TV or scrolling social media too much, it might be worth ditching these and getting a workout and some sleep in instead.