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What's Better: An Hour of Exercise or an Hour of Sleep?

September 21, 2013, 3:00 PM

What's the Latest Development?

In a perfect world, everyone would be well-rested and exercise regularly. But in our world, many people are faced with the decision to get an extra hour of sleep or exercise. Since sleep, exercise, and nutrition contribute to a health matrix, there is no clear answer. Research shows that a good night's sleep—seven hours or more—results in better and more prolonged exercise sessions later that day, while fewer hours of sleep frequently lead to reduced motivation to exercise. Similarly, "exercise can improve the quality of sleep, prompting deep sleep that is more restorative and effective for memory, performance and physical health."

What's the Big Idea?

Dr. Phyllis Zee, a professor of neurology and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University in Chicago, says that robbing yourself of sleep or exercise is counterproductive to good health. "As for how to bank more sleep without skipping gym time, consider simply 'going to bed 20 to 30 minutes earlier than usual on work days,' Dr. Zee said, and 'waking up 15 minutes later in the morning,' earning yourself an additional 600 to 800 minutes of sleep per month. 'Everyone can do that,' Dr. Zee said." Ultimately, sweating and slumber have a bidirectional relationship.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at the New York Times 


What's Better: An Hour of E...

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