Sleep Versus Workout: What’s More Important?

Fitness // Louise McDonald

Both sleep and exercise are very important parts of a healthy routine – however, there are times when you’ll ask yourself whether more sleep is better than a workout, especially if you’re exhausted.

As it turns out, there’s no clear-cut answer, but sleep does take priority in a lot of cases. Here are the pros and cons of each:

Let’s take a look at why you may benefit from more sleep

  • Being adequately rested ahead of your workout can lead to much better performance
  • Feeling tired can compromise your form and attention during exercise, which can present risks of injury by how you tackle your sessions or gauge the intensity of them
  • Our immune system needs sufficient rest to keep at an optimum level and being deprived of this can suppresses immune system function
  • Frequent spells of shortened sleeping patterns can lead to drop off with smart decisions towards your exercise and food choices. Struggles can follow and motivation levels tend to subside
  • Contrary to what many people believe, you are progressing in the direction of your health and fitness goals while you’re sleeping – it’s true! There are a multitude of great things happening while you are snoozing (muscle repair for one)
  • Not getting enough sleep can massively interfere with weight loss and even weight gain in some people. We do need certain hormones and processes to occur in a fairly consistent fashion to keep weight management on point, and being sleep deprived can often lead to overeating or craving the wrong foods

Also read: When Can You Skip a Workout?

Now, here’s when getting up and pushing through is better

  • Feeling good about exercising will increase your motivation, which snowballs into healthy habits over time
  • Endorphin production early in the day can mean a much ‘better’ day overall. Exercise sharpens your focus and clarity, while helping you make better choices over the course of the day
  • Exercise can assist with a better sleep the following night
  • Aiming to get your schedule on track wherever possible is better for ideal sleeping patterns. Too much sleep can be just as detrimental as not enough

So…what’s the answer?

Sleep tends to take precedence over exercise in most situations, but it’s really a case-by-case basis.

Aim to have a regular system in place, and if on occasion you need to change things up, do it and be sensible about it!

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