Monday, September 23, 2013

Is It Better To Get An Extra Hour Of Sleep Or An Hour Of Exercise?


How do I balance an extra hour of sleep against 40 minutes of exercise? When should I give in to the desire for more sleep and when should I push myself to exercise? Both are good for you!

Ah, a predicament familiar to many of us, especially on cold, dark or rainy mornings when a warm bed can seem insidiously alluring compared with an early jog. Unfortunately science can’t help us definitively to balance one activity against the other.

“Exercise, sleep and nutrition form the triangle of health, and all are related,” said Dr. Phyllis Zee, a professor of neurology and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Research from her laboratory shows that a good night’s sleep, consisting of at least seven hours of slumber, results in better and more prolonged exercise sessions later that day, she said, while fewer hours of sleep frequently lead to reduced motivation to exercise. Similarly, “exercise can improve the quality of sleep,” she said, prompting “deep sleep that is more restorative and effective for memory, performance and physical health.”

In other words, she said, sweating and slumber share a “bidirectional relationship.”

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