Which is more important, sleep or exercise if you had to choose?

A client recently asked me which was more important, sleep or exercise.

I wish I could answer this question with a one word answer but I can’t. So let’s break it down below.

I recently asked my Instagram followers if they had five minutes to pick my brain, what would the ask me. The first question I chose to answer was whether my clients should choose sleep or exercise.

The importance of sleep versus early exercise depends on your individual health goals, current physical and mental health and personal preferences. Here are a few considerations:

  1. Sleep Quality and Duration: Adequate sleep is crucial for overall health, including cognitive function, mood regulation, and physical health. Most adults need 7-9 hours of good-quality sleep per night. If you are not meeting your sleep needs, prioritizing sleep over waking up early for exercise might be more beneficial.
  2. Exercise Benefits: Regular exercise is important for cardiovascular health, weight management, mental health, and more. If you can incorporate exercise without sacrificing sleep, it can significantly enhance your overall well-being. Exercise can help you sleep better as well!
  3. Personal Schedule and Preferences: Some people find they are more consistent with exercise if they do it first thing in the morning, while others might find it easier to fit exercise into their day at other times. Consider what works best for your schedule and when you feel most energized.
  4. Balance and Flexibility: It might be worth finding a middle ground. For example, you could aim for slightly shorter exercise sessions in the morning if that allows you to get a reasonable amount of sleep, or adjust your schedule to allow for both adequate sleep and exercise.

Ultimately, both sleep and exercise are vital, and ideally, your routine should not consistently sacrifice one for the other.

In short, do not wake up early to work out if that means you are getting less than 6 hours of sleep. Choose sleep. Feel free to go from 8 to 7 hours of sleep to wake up early for exercise.

The grey area here is IMO is that 6-7 hour. Nick would be fine to get 6 hours of sleep and exercise. I would not. Women need more sleep than men. You’ll know you need more sleep if your finding you’re always hungry or have really strong cravings and energy is low. Lack of sleep is a stressor and could be a hurdle for fat loss if that is a goal. Lack of exercise is also a hurdle but for many menopause clients, we encourage sleep over early morning workouts.

Bottom line, I hope you don’t have to choose but the answer isn’t always, WAKE UP!


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Ok, I went a little off topic with this one but I thought it was a good answer, lol. I talk about the idea of having it all and how it’s unrealistic. You can have it all, but it won’t all be equal.

What having it all means a great career, family life, friends, health and wealth. You can have most but chances are you’re going to feel like you’re failing at something here at some point. I recommend choosing what 2 are most important to you. This helps with a lot of clarity in achieving true happiness.

And sure, there may be some people who do have it all, are content with life and feel like an amazing friend, partner and parent but from experience and conversations, usually we feel like we are failing at at least one of these things.

Watch the video above and let me know what you think.

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