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Sleep vs. Exercise

There is no better time than now to set healthy life goals for yourself. If you want to live your best life, it’s important to put time and energy into planning a balanced diet and incorporating cardio and weightlifting into your daily routine. 

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, pretty much everyone knows that diet and exercise are important, but you might not realize that there are other components involved in the equation, such as getting adequate rest each night. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average adult needs about seven or more hours of sleep per night for optimal health and well-being. 

Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day. What if you have to make a choice between getting another hour of REM sleep or adding a daily workout to your schedule? If it comes down to sleep vs. exercise, which is more important? 

The Impossible Choice

Experts seem to agree that choosing between sleep and exercise leaves you with no good options. One doctor from the Mayo Clinic even compared it to having to choose between food and water, which is to say, losing either is incredibly detrimental. 

Not only are both adequate deep sleep and regular exercise critical for health and wellness, but the two are inextricably linked. 

When you’re getting enough sleep, you are more likely to enjoy increased energy and motivation that will help you stick to a workout schedule and get the most out of every aerobic or strength training activity, and when you spend time running, swimming, or practicing yoga, it can help to reduce stress and improve sleep. 

While everyone differs somewhat in their sleep and fitness needs, it’s generally best to get both if you can, as each delivers health benefits you don’t want to lose. What are the benefits of pairing adequate sleep and exercise? 

Benefits of Sleep

Sleep is essential to maintaining good physical, mental, and emotional health. If you’ve suffered insomnia or simply chosen to truncate your nightly rest, you’ve probably had to deal with the impact of fatigue, including irritability, lack of concentration, and diminished performance, both mentally and physically. 

As it turns out, lack of sleep can also impact stress levels, weight, immunity, attitude, and decision-making. Long-term sleep deprivation could lead to increased bouts of illness and higher risks for diabetes, heart disease, and more. 

Whether it’s time to see a doctor about issues like insomnia or sleep apnea, or you simply need to focus on improving rest by adding meditation to your bedtime routine or upgrading to a new hybrid mattress, improving slumber is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle. 

Benefits of Exercise

Maybe you enjoy getting outside for a daily jog, or you prefer the social aspects of attending Pilates class. Perhaps you like the challenge of weight training, or physical limitations only allow you to focus on walking and stretching. 

However you’re able to exercise, it’s important to make physical fitness part of your regular routine so you can enjoy benefits like weight management, increased energy, improved mood, reduced risk of illness and disease, and of course, better sleep. 

With all of the stresses of modern life, it’s important to make time for yourself and advocate for your own health and wellness. If you’re looking to relax, improve overall health, and truly live your best life, you really need to incorporate both exercise and adequate sleep on a regular basis.