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.
Is it better to get sleep or exercise?
Sleep and exercise are equally vital for overall well-being and should ideally complement each other. According to the Sleep Foundation, regular exercise can improve sleep duration and quality. However, it’s advisable to finish your workout at least two hours before bedtime to avoid disrupting your sleep. In some cases, if you have to choose between the two, experts such as Christopher E. Kline suggest that 30 minutes of exercise may have a more significant impact on your health than 30 minutes of extra sleep. As always, we recommend that you make sure to listen to your body, and if you’re feeling excessively tired or fatigued, prioritizing your sleep would be the best choice at that time to improve your wellbeing.
Should I sacrifice sleep for exercise?
We don’t recommend that you sacrifice your sleep for exercise, for a number of different reasons, including:
Sleep is Vital for Health
Lack of sleep can have negative effects on your overall health. It weakens the immune system, impairs cognitive function, and increases the risk of chronic diseases, as mentioned in The New York Times.
Insufficient Sleep can Decrease Exercise Performance
Insufficient sleep can lead to reduced exercise performance, making workouts less effective and potentially increasing the risk of injury.
Sleep is Crucial for Recovery
Sleep is crucial for muscle recovery and growth. Sacrificing sleep may hinder your body’s ability to repair and build muscles after exercise.
Sleep Deprivation can Severely Impact Overall Well-being
Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to mood disturbances and increased stress, which can negatively impact your quality of life and motivation for exercise.
Should I exercise if I can’t sleep?
If you can’t sleep, whether or not you should exercise depends on your individual circumstances and how you feel. If you haven’t had any sleep at all, you should not work out.
How much sleep should I get if I workout everyday?
If you work out every day, the amount of sleep you should get depends on several factors, including your age, activity level, and individual needs. Sleep has an impact on exercise and muscle growth, so it is important to understand that getting adequate sleep also means that you are ‘putting in the work’.