Sometimes the only fix for a shoddy night of sleep is to pull yourself out of bed and suffer through that early morning trainer sesh or spin class. You’re gonna feel like crap anyway, but maybe the endorphins from a workout will give you that boost to get through the day, right?
Well, turns out that logic is all wrong. In a response to a recent NYTimes Ask Well letter, Boston-based sleep expert Dr. Charles Czeisler explained that exercising when you’re exhausted is counterproductive for a number of reasons.
For one, sleep gives your muscles a chance to recover from workouts, and bypassing that rest time could put you at greater risk for injury. Adequate snooze time is also important for a healthy immune system. Just think, if you’re sick and hurt, you’re won’t make it to the gym, anyway. Moreover, if you’re trying to lose weight, studies have shown that insufficient sleep can add to your waistline.
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Czeisler also pointed out that staying up late — we see you, Netflix bingers — can shift your body’s circadian rhythms, leading to later bedtimes. If you work out after only six and a half hours of sleep, you’re basically exerting yourself when you should be resting — and research has suggested that even your muscles have circadian rhythms.
Ideally, the two should go hand in hand: Exercise regularly so that you get a good night’s sleep, get a good night’s sleep to power your morning workout, rinse and repeat. But until you figure out a system that works for you, don’t beat yourself up for snoozing in the morning after a restless night.