In the Battle Between Hitting the Gym or Sleeping, Science Demands You Choose Sleep

Let’s be honest: if you had to choose between going to the gym, or crawling into your bed, would the choice really be that difficult? Yes, exercise is important. And plenty of people see working out as self-care, and it is! Taking care of yourself is GOOD for you. But on the other hand … sleep. If you’ve ever struggled with this decision and then felt bad for catching some z’s instead of hitting the gym, stop right now. Science says it’s OK to choose sleep over working out. In fact, it may actually be better for you in the long run.

jane the virgin sleeping GIF

Image: Giphy

Sleep deprivation does no one any good. So if you choose sleep over working out, you may be making the more beneficial choice.

Listen, we all know that once you have kids, you can kiss your 8-hours of sleep a night goodbye. If you’re lucky, you’re managing 5-6 hours a night, tops. One or two nights of this might be fine, but after a few nights of not-enough-sleep, your body will start to tell you it’s struggling. So say, for instance, you’ve logged an average of 5 hours a night all week. Then Friday rolls around, and it’s gym time. But it’s also the night your partner has off, and that means you can actually get to bed at a reasonable hour (and sleep!). Is it better to bite the bullet and hit the gym? Or should you slide into bed with a melatonin and noise-cancelling headphones?

Not getting enough sleep can have a huge, detrimental impact on your overall health.

In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation can lead to an increased appetite and consuming more calories.

In an interview with Motherly, sleep specialist Rachel Gorton says, “Sleep provides our bodies with the fuel we need for the day. If we continue to pull from our energy bank, but don’t replenish it properly, we will end up operating in a deficit, which leads to long lasting health problems.” Futhermore, says sleep expert Dr. Guy Meadows, “Research demonstrates that after a poor night of sleep Ghrelin levels increase and Leptin levels decrease. Meaning we [feel] more hungry and yet less full, hence why we tend to eat more.”

Working out is important, yes. But pushing your body past its limits never ends well, for anyone. Listen to what your body is telling you. And if your body is saying “SLEEP PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD”, then put the workout gear away, put on your pj’s, and listen to it.

(Image: iStock / GeorgeRudy)

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