Is It Better to Sleep In Or Work Out? (The Answer Will Surprise You)



You probably know that here at Be Well Philly we’re big fans of hopping out of bed for that early-morning workout. And why wouldn’t we be? By working out first thing, you start off your day with an accomplishment and a healthy mindset to set you up for success. There’s no denying that sleep is important too, but important enough to miss your workout?

Well, TIME asked some sleep docs to weigh in and, while they all insisted that we need both sleep and exercise to even attempt to be healthy, when forced to choose, Dr. Cheri Mah, sleep medicine researcher at Stanford and UCSF, chose sleep. Why, you ask? As she explains, sleep is the foundation of health for everything from our immune systems to our energy levels to our appetite. And adults need an absolute minimum of seven hours of sleep every night to function their best in all those areas throughout the day.

Dr. Phyllis Zee of Northwestern’s Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine added that regularity is super-important, too — along with getting at least seven hours a night, you should be going to bed and getting up around the same time.

So, if you’ve got sleep down pat, then go full green light on the morning workout. But Mah and Zee agreed that significantly reducing your sleep time or changing your sleep pattern to fit in a workout may be counterproductive. In short: Always try to get great sleep and squeeze in a workout, but if you’re forced to choose one or the other, press snooze.

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