It’s January, and you, like many, have committed to being healthier in 2018. Your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re tired, and immediately there is a battle inside your head. Should you stay in bed and catch up on sleep, or push your way through your morning workout? The last thing you want to do is skip out on workouts already!
This is a conundrum faced by many people every day. When time is limited, which wellness activity should take priority: sleep or exercise?
Sleep vs. Exercise
According to some sleep experts, both sleep and exercise are very important for overall health, but losing sleep to work out is not recommended. In fact, sleep is important for workouts because it reduces the possibility of injury and gives the muscles time to heal.
The immune system becomes weak and is more susceptible to illness without proper rest — not good for your workout! Your body is more likely to gain weight without enough sleep, and many other health conditions can arise, too, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
It’s important to get about eight hours of sleep each night. If you get up after six and half hours of rest to workout, you’re doing so during your biological night. Muscle cells also have circadian rhythms, and these cells perform and repair themselves better during the biological day. So, getting up too early to workout can actually be counterproductive.
The Right Time of Day to Exercise
Of course, this brings up a question: Should people even be working out in the morning to begin with?
Studies have shown that the morning isn’t necessarily the best time of the day for your body to exercise. People actually perform better later in the day, since that is when strength and flexibility naturally peak, meaning a good workout will be more achievable.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should completely avoid a morning workout if that’s the only time you have. By exercising consistently in the morning, you can eliminate that morning performance gap and reach performance levels usually seen in the afternoon. This is worth keeping in mind if you’re training for a particular event that has an early start time, such as a 5K.
Ways to Include Exercise On an Everyday Basis
If you’re used to working out in the morning, but would like to switch up your schedule to get more rest while still remaining active, there are a number of ways to include exercise habits into your everyday life without spending hours at the gym.
When time is tight, try the following:
- If possible, walk your commute instead of driving it.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator. This activity engages your quads, glutes, calves and hamstrings.
- Clean your house/apartment. Many cleaning activities, like scrubbing bathrooms, sweeping and mopping keep you consistently active and are good ways to break a sweat.
- Go grocery shopping. Walking around, lifting items and pushing a cart are all good calorie burners.
- Try gardening. Gardening activities are a reliable way to burn calories and engage muscles.
- Cook a meal. It keeps you on your feet, and certain activities like chopping vegetables can count as a minimal workout.
What To Do When Sleep and Exercise Aren’t Enough
By exercising consistently and at the right time of day, your sleep quality and overall health is likely to increase. Sleep and exercise paired together are a great foundation to feeling your best. However, if you still have trouble sleeping, feel exhausted in the morning, or find it hard to concentrate or stay awake throughout the day, you may need to see a sleep expert.
Feeling tired despite living a healthy lifestyle is one of the hallmarks of sleep apnea, a serious disorder that affects over 20 million Americans. Sleep apnea prevents a person from getting the deep, restful sleep they need to wake up feeling energized, and it can also put them at a much higher risk for other conditions like mood disorders, heart attacks and strokes.
At Sleep Better, Georgia, Dr. Jeff Rodgers has successfully helped patients with sleep apnea by treating the condition with oral appliance therapy (OAT). With OAT, all a patient has to do is wear a small mouthpiece-like device to bed each night. The device can help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms so patients wake up in the morning ready to take on the day… which is certainly helpful for that morning workout!
If you’re having issues rising in the morning or staying awake during the day despite getting enough sleep, be sure to contact Sleep Better, Georgia for a consultation. We’ll help you find the root cause of your problem so your sleep, workout and health can stay on track for 2018.