Community · Workouts · Aug 12, 2023
Extra Sleep or a Workout: What’s Better for Your Health?
We’ve all been there. It’s too early in the morning and the alarm jolts you awake, signaling that it’s time for your Litesport workout. Should you hit snooze or glove up?
The answer: It depends. The truth of the matter is that you need both. You need 7-8 hours of sleep. But you also need a regular workout routine to keep your body healthy.
So what do you do?
Benefits of Sleep
Let’s start by talking about the importance of sleep, and why you need 7-8 hours of it in the first place. Sleep is not a dormant phase. There’s a lot happening in your brain and body after your head hits the pillow.
These benefits include:
- Building and repairing: While it might feel like everything shuts down as you sleep, it’s quite the opposite. It’s during sleep that your body repairs all the damage done during the day. It’s like hitting the factory reset button. From cell growth to hormone regulation, your body needs this time to get all systems and functions back to 100%.
- Full-body health and wellness: If your body doesn’t have enough time to factory reset, this impacts all areas of your health. Low levels of sleep increase your risk of health concerns like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and more. It also puts your immune health at risk, increasing your odds of getting sick.
- Memory processing: During sleep, your brain captures and stores all the information and experiences from your day. This is why you tend to be forgetful or struggle to remember things if you don't get enough sleep.
- Cognitive functioning: It’s during sleep that your brain resets and recharges so you’re more alert and ready to function during the day. A lack of sleep can result in attention problems, reduced cognitive ability, and mood shifts. In other words, without enough sleep, your brain (and body!) can’t function properly.
You might be struggling with chronic sleep deprivation and not even know it. That’s because you can develop a tolerance to low sleep levels. This is when your brain and body adjust to not getting enough sleep until it starts to feel “normal”. But start getting your recommended 7+ hours and you’ll notice that your version of normal was not actually normal at all.
Benefits of Physical Activity
So it’s clear that sleep is pretty important. But what about exercise? There are also plenty of health benefits to a regular exercise routine.
- Healthier heart and lungs: It’s not only your leg or arm muscles getting a workout. During exercise, you’re strengthening your heart and lungs, improving your circulation and oxygen flow throughout your body. This reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and more.
- Better endurance: The stronger your heart and lungs get through exercise, the more efficient they are at delivering oxygen and blood throughout your body. When your heart doesn’t need to beat as fast and your lungs don’t need to work as hard, this improves your quality of life. It’s not just about being able to box for longer, but making it up the stairs or going for a walk without feeling winded.
- Energy and mood boost: Efficient blood and oxygen flow also increases your energy levels. And as you work out, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals can help lower levels of stress and anxiety while improving your mood, confidence, and energy.
- Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels: Exercise can also help lower your blood sugar and unhealthy cholesterol. This reduces your risk of health concerns like type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Strengthen joints, bones, and muscles: Exercise puts stress on your body. This stress forces your bones, joints, and muscles to get stronger. As you get older and start losing bone density and muscle mass this plays a big role in the quality of your life. With exercise, you’re less likely to struggle with painful joint and bone health issues as you age.
And exercise can even help you sleep. This is because exercise is exhausting (especially when you're stepping into the ring!). Putting your body to work makes it easier to fall asleep. And not only that, but exercise helps reduce your stress levels. This means you might have fewer anxious thoughts buzzing through your head interrupting your sleep schedule.
Sleep vs. Exercise: Should You Sleep in or Work Out?
Given their health benefits, it’s clear that you need both 7-8 hours of sleep and a healthy movement or exercise routine. But this doesn’t answer the question running through your head as your alarm goes off in the morning: should I sleep in or work out?
The answer depends on your situation. If you’re skipping out on your recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep most nights to fit in a workout, then turn off that alarm and opt for extra hours of sleep instead. Try exercising at a different time in your day that doesn’t interfere with your recommended 8 hours.
But if you’re getting enough sleep each night and you keep hitting that snooze button, maybe the better question is: are you really a morning workout person? Sometimes you don’t have a choice. It might be the only time in your schedule that a workout is even possible. But if you have the flexibility to move things around, consider an afternoon or early evening workout routine instead.
It’s also important to decipher what kind of tired you’re experiencing. Are you mentally exhausted from a long day? Or are you exhausted from a lack of sleep? Because the answer makes a difference in what’s best for your health.
Boxing it out in the ring could be the energy boost you need to work through the stress of a busy day. But if you’re sleep-deprived, you might be better off tucking yourself in for an early bedtime.
That’s because skipping out on one good night of sleep has a much bigger impact on your health than skipping one workout.6 Without sleep, every aspect of your body, mood, and brain function struggles.
The Big Takeaway: Listen to Your Body
But how can you tell the difference between the exhaustion that requires a workout versus the exhaustion that requires more sleep? The best way to tell the difference is by taking time to listen to your body. Because the only person who truly knows what you need is you.
Here are some questions to help you tune in to what your body is asking for:
- Take a hard look at your sleep history. How much sleep do you get on average? How much sleep did you get last night? If the answer is “not enough”, then prioritize sleep.6 If the answer is 7 hours, try a motivating Trainer Class instead.
- Do you feel well-rested after waking up? Just because you’re laying in bed for 7-8 hours doesn't mean you’re getting a full 7-8 hours of sleep. Exercise could help you feel more tired and less stressed at the end of the day. This helps you spend more time in bed sleeping than wishing you were sleeping.
- Does exercise boost or drain your energy? Exercising while sleep-deprived can often make you feel worse instead of better.
- When do you feel most exhausted? Is it after waking up, at the end of the day, after a tough meeting? Take note of your energy patterns. The answer might not be a nap but a mid-afternoon pick-me-up like a quick Punch Track workout or a walk around the block.
- Do you feel fatigued, sore, injured, or burnt out? These are often signs that you need to build more rest and recovery into your routine.
- What did you do and experience today? If you’re tired after sitting at a desk for 8 hours, this is the kind of exhaustion that might pair well with a workout. If you had a tough day, boxing it out could help work through your frustration.
The point of the above questions is to get you thinking more critically about yourself, your body, and what you’re experiencing. The better you are at listening and paying attention to your body’s signals, the easier it will be to know whether it’s extra sleep or a workout that you need.
At Litesport, we’re all about getting in the ring for a full-body workout. But we know that sometimes the right answer is putting down the boxing gloves and putting on the PJs for an extra few hours of sleep. (And not feeling guilty for doing what’s best for you and your body.)
Need help staying motivated to work out or building rest and recovery into your routine? (Or learning what a healthy workout routine even looks like?) Head to our blog The Ring for more helpful tips on how to work out, stay in shape, and experience the best at-home boxing workout with Litesport.
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