Do I Snooze or Do I Sweat? Should You Choose Sleep over Your Workout

It's easy to get tired in the world we live in. Think about it. We're always on the go, always working toward a new goal, and once we reach it, we're already onto the next one. And while this kind of mindset is ambitious and healthy, it can be exhausting. We all know that there are days when we look at our gym bag—and then we think about our bed. When is it time to say “enough is enough” and skip a workout to catch up on sleep? Do you choose that extra hour of sleep in the morning or do you get up, lace up your sneakers, and hit the pavement? A lot of advice columnists answering this question will say “You can do both!” How ideal of them. The reality of it is, sometimes you have to make a choice—there's no way you can possibly fit everything into your schedule, unless you somehow add more hours to the day (we've been trying to do it for years and it hasn't worked yet, so good luck).

What hormones does sleep help regulate? Ah, this is interesting. So there are a couple hormones that our body releases that specifically are related to our food intake. Leptin is a hormone that suppresses hunger. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite. In order to have a proper balance of these hormones, which with the right choices can lead to great nutritional habits, you need to get a proper amount of sleep.

What is a proper amount of sleep? The jury is actually still out on that one. For some it's 6 and for others it's 9. Because so many people fluctuate in the amount of sleep they need, doctors recommend getting in about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. When you stop to think about it, it seems like a lot—that's the average amount of time people spend at their job every day…and we're supposed to get that much sleep? The answer is yes. For all the work you do during the day physically and mentally, you need the sleep. Just like we need to refuel our bodies after a workout, sleep is a way for us to refuel after each day.

Can I workout if I've gotten less sleep than that? The “proper amount of sleep” jury and this jury are apparently out to lunch together, because that is also up for debate. It all depends on how much sleep you normally get and how good you feel. If you normally get 7 hours and only got 6.5 or 6 the night before, you may be able to fit in a light workout. If you only got 4 hours however, we wouldn't recommend it. That's because your body hasn't spent the time it needs recuperating yet. Sure, you can work out, but odds are that you won't be able to give it your all like you did on a day after you got a good night's rest.

What if I really really want to work out? If you haven't gotten enough sleep and are really itching to work out—which we totally understand, because exercise relieves stress, then take a nap. We recommend taking a power nap for about 10-20 minutes and nothing longer. Taking a longer nap could get you kicked in to your REM cycle which is a way deeper sleep then you want to sink into before a sweat session. After your power nap, you should be good to go and work out. But be easy on yourself and listen to your body!

What's the Promax jury's ruling? Like we spoke about before, it's hard to say what is the right and wrong thing to do because everyone is different. Whether you should snooze or sweat all depends on you, your regular sleep schedule, your nutritional habits, how rigorous your workout is, and many other factors. All in all, it may be smarter to spend the extra hour catching up on sleep if you really need it. Exercising when you're too tired can lead to mistakes in form and injury. But then again, you are an athlete and you know your limits—so you decide. If you think you've solved the mystery, we want to hear from you—feel free to get in touch directly!



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