It’s been a long time since we started a conversation about sleeping in a tent. After all, it can be cumbersome to put a full-size Tempur-Pedic in your Coleman. What we have shared with you is a great deal of information about circadian rhythms and sleep hygiene to help you get higher quality, more restful sleep, and more of it. For those whose circadian clocks are out whack, new sleep research has revealed a sure-fire cure – and a fast-acting one at that.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep?

It’s no secret that Americans are always compromising healthy sleep in the pursuit of other priorities. Even though we all know sleep is important for health, wellness, and quality of life, adequate rest all too often gets the short end of the stick. When it comes to money, family, safety, career, and even fun, the benefits are often worth the sacrifice. When you’re deciding between sleep and a pursuit that also benefits your overall health, though, the right choice might not be so clear.

Sleep vs. Exercise

Sleep is vital for survival and every level of performance beyond it. Exercise improves just about every aspect of the human body. So, it makes sense that so many people want to prioritize both. Unfortunately, to this point, there has yet to be a definitive study directly comparing the impact of sleep to the effects of exercise. What we do know is that there is a direct relationship between exercise and sleep: one process strains the body while the other is an opportunity for tissues to flush toxins and rebuild. There may not be a one-size-fits-all formula, but there comes a tipping point when, without enough rest, working out becomes more harmful than helpful.

Physical Factors affected by Sleep Loss:

• Energy
• Appetite
• Water Retention
• Weight Loss
• Cognitive Functioning
• Hormone Levels
• Heart Disease Risk

A Situation-Specific Decision

Understanding the impact of insufficient sleep on your body can help you make the best call on any given day. If you have time to work out and catch up on sleep, by all means, get the benefits of both. But when you’re short on time, consider what you’ll be doing the next day. If it’s driving or operating heavy machinery, giving a presentation, or taking an important test, the responsible move is to put off a day’s workout and recharge your brain with a solid night’s sleep. But if tomorrow is a run of the mill, nothing-special-going-on sort of day, you can probably stick to your exercise regimen without suffering severe sleep-related consequences.

Planning for the Inevitable

Life Happens. Fire alarms go off, all-nighters get pulled, babies cry, and sometimes the sandman just doesn’t show up. The best way to avoid sacrificing healthy habits is to follow a routine that prioritizes all of them. By establishing a rhythm, you’ll coordinate the moving parts of your life in a way that creates minimal (but not nonexistent) resistance. One thing to never do is sacrifice exercise (or anything else, really) for a brief snooze (or several of them). You’ll get more out of a short midday nap than you will from 10 or 20 minutes tacked onto the end of a night’s sleep.

A rule of thumb: Keep exercising. When you’re genuinely sleep deprived, consider making a sacrifice. But if you just feel like five minutes more sleep, start your workout by kicking yourself out of bed.

Start with sleep.

When you find yourself constantly fighting to get more sleep, something is wrong. Maybe it’s a time management issue, a sleep disorder, or bad bedding. That last one can be one of the easiest to solve. If you’ve been putting in the time but not staying asleep, troubleshoot your sleep space. It’s possible your bed isn’t providing adequate support for your regularly exercising body. If you suspect your mattress may be worn out, just start a conversation with the sleep experts at A Goodnight Sleepstore. We’ll help you identify what’s keeping you awake at night and find the right mattress for the next phase of your long, prosperous, and healthy life.

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