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To Sleep or Not To Sleep…

I will choose sleep over pretty much anything (except food). I usually feel pretty guilty about sleeping in. We have sort of been trained as Americans to abide by the “early to bed, early to rise” philosophy, which definitely has its merits. But at the same time, we are one of the most sleep deprived countries in the world, which makes me wonder, is sleep all that bad?

Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out when you should stay cuddled up beneath the sheets, or get up early for that morning workout. There are a few reasons that make a case for both options. 

It’s hard to make a choice at times because both sleep and exercise are equally important to keeping a balanced lifestyle. However, most people in the United States are definitely getting less shut eye than they should be. Ideally, we would all be getting about seven to eight hours, although those numbers are some that most Americans only dream about. But getting enough sleep does need to be made a priority, since it plays a huge role in your quality of life. Not only does it help your brain function throughout the day so you can perform all your tasks and errands efficiently, but it reduces the risk of getting seriously sick, promotes mental health and improves the immune system overall. 

If you are trying to lose some stubborn pounds, it may also be linked to sleep deprivation. Studies have found that people who do not get enough sleep actually increase their probability of gaining weight. If you are sleep deprived, then your are susceptible to sugary, starchy food cravings, which can lead to a greater chance of obesity. Lack of sleep can also lead a worse workout performance, so if you are choosing the gym over your bed, you should make sure that you have gotten a sufficient amount of rest. If you are going through the motions of a workout and you are exhausted, it might be counter productive since you physically will not be able to push yourself as you would if you had gotten some solid sack time.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t a time and a place for rising early for a workout session. For a lot of people, their days are so jam packed with activities there just simply isn’t any other time for their exercise time unless they get up a few hours early. This has its benefits as well. Not only do you get your endorphins flowing for the rest of the day, but it will also help you lower your stress levels before heading into work, allowing you to start the day with a clear head. Early exercisers have also been found to sleep more restfully at night, which may put you on a healthy cycle.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Rui Costa

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