Sleep vs. Exercise…Which Should You Choose?

one woman sleeping in the bed and the other exercising

If you’re like most people, you’re going a million miles an hour with your hair on fire as a lifestyle.  It’s just the way it is these days.  You have miles to go before you sleep and your priorities crowd one another, as you seek to fulfil them.

So, the title of this post is no joke.  It’s a question many struggle with, as they attempt to find balance in their work, lives and health objectives.  The answer to the question “sleep vs. exercise…which should you choose?”, is not as cut and dried as you might think.

In fact, the question is answered by one deceptively simple word: balance.   Balance is a recurring theme in these pages, because it’s something we believe in here at 43rd Street Medical.  Balance in the body.  Balance in work and life.  Balance in all things.  It’s the secret so many of us miss.

When our bodies are out of balance, the point comes home as pain.  When we’re considering the relative merits of such pivotal facets of healthy living as sleep and exercise, it’s time to slow down and ask ourselves if our lives are truly balanced.

Get the sleep you need.

At 43rd Street, we’re great believers in physical fitness.  What we don’t counsel is losing sleep over it.  If you’re sacrificing sleep to squeeze in gym time, you’re undermining yourself in ways that can exact a heavy toll on your health.

If you’re consistently tired, it’s because you’re sleeping less than you need to (7-9 hours per night).  We know what it’s like to have priorities battling each other for primacy, but sleep is one of the most important functions of the body.

For one, sleep allows the body to cleanse itself.  That includes the brain.  When you’re not getting REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, you’re not working out anxieties and stresses that can impact overall health.

A lack of sleep can also contribute to irritability and weight gain, sugars in your blood and elevated blood pressure.  Ensuring you get enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

Balancing your priorities.

Understanding that a lack of sleep undermines your workout goals is key here.  The question you’re asking “sleep vs. exercise…which should I choose?” demands that you find a balance that allows both a place in your life, but which acknowledges the primacy of sleep as a human need.

You don’t just deserve to sleep.  You need to sleep.  Consistent sleeplessness will eventually result in health problems, so creeping out of bed in the pre-dawn hours to pump iron on 6 hours of sleep isn’t the balance you’re looking for.

We recommend working out no fewer than three times per week –  maybe add getting off the bus a few stops earlier, or choosing the stairs over the elevator.  Being creative will help you find the answer to the question “sleep vs. exercise…which should I choose?”.

43rd Street Medical is a multi-disciplinarian clinic specializing in pain relief.  Contact us to discover world-class care.