Work out or more sleep? What to do with those early mornings

Photo: supplied

Photo: supplied

When it comes to our health, we all know that it’s essential to both get enough sleep and move our body often. However, when you’re run down and exhausted you might be left wondering – is it more important to prioritise a few extra Zs or push yourself to get up and go?

Here are some factors to consider when you’re having that debate with yourself under the doona on cold winter mornings.

The case for sleep

The body needs sleep to give you the energy to take on your busy day ahead, but too often we forget that its benefits to our overall health goes far beyond just this. Sleep is essential to keep our immune system in tip-top shape and help us avoid illness.

It helps the brain function at an optimal level, benefiting your cognitive abilities and emotional state and of course makes you a much more pleasant person to be around.

When you’re getting your workouts ticked off each day, sleep is essential to help the body rejuvenate and recover. So, when your muscles are aching from smashing out your training each day, a good night’s sleep can be just what the doctor ordered to help you get back to tip-top condition.

Still not convinced of the endless benefits of sleep? Lack of sleep can cause intense cravings for bad food, increase your appetite and lead to over-eating. When you’re well rested you’re way more likely to make sensible food choices throughout the day and therefore less likely to grab that Mars Bar at 3pm for a much-needed burst of energy.

Like most things, when you treat the cause of the problem, you find the solution. So, instead of focusing on getting those extra hours in the morning, my advice is to instead focus on getting a better night’s sleep by going to bed at the same time each night, ensuring your environment is sleep friendly and avoiding technology before bed.

The case for working out

I understand that hitting the snooze button and skipping your workout for a few more hours’ sleep can be very tempting. However, something I always tell my 28ers is that you will never regret the workout that you have just done. It all comes down to those split-second decisions where you can go left or right, so make sure you’re putting everything in your favour to make sure you get up and go.

My tips are to put your phone on the other side of the room so when your alarm goes off you’re forced to get out of bed and always lay out your workout clothes the night before.

I’m always saying that fitting exercise into your day won’t give you less time; it’ll give you more and, more often than not, you will find that waking up and getting it done will actually give you more energy to tackle the day ahead. An added bonus of committing to exercise in the morning is that endorphins are produced early on in the day, which can sharpen your focus and clear your mind.

Ok, so there’s no prizes for guessing what my recommendation usually is when it comes to sleeping in versus working out. Of course, when we’re really sick we need to listen to our body and get extra rest. But if it is simply a case of willing yourself out of bed to do what you know you need to do on those winter mornings, then take this advice and make it your best working-out winter yet.

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