Exercise or Sleep? You Need Both

Have you ever felt this way?  Oh, another 10 minutes of sleep would feel so good, in the morning, but you have to exercise before work.  Sleep?  Exercise?  Which one is better?

 “Exercise, sleep and nutrition form the triangle of health, and all are related,” The New York Times' Gretchen Reynolds quotes Dr. Phyllis Zee, a professor of neurology and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Reynolds notes that research from Zee's laboratory shows that at least seven hours of sleep results in better and more prolonged exercise sessions later that day, while "fewer hours of sleep frequently lead to reduced motivation to exercise."  But “exercise can improve the quality of sleep,” she told Reynolds, adding that “deep sleep is more restorative and effective for memory, performance and physical health.”

Reynolds reports that robbing yourself of exercise or sleep is counterproductive to good health, according to Kelly Glazer Baron, the director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Northwestern.

So what's the answer?  Go to bed earlier -- 20 to 30 minutes -- say experts.  Not the answer you want? Not the one I'd want either.  But on those cold dark mornings when I run before dawn, and my bed is just so toasty warm, I remind myself that I'm doing it to look 40 (I'm in my late 50s) and that makes me jump out of bed and run right out the door.


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