I've done a search and don't see a question about this specific debate I have with myself sometimes
I usually wake up around 5:30 in the morning to go to the gym. I like this schedule and I go to bed around 9-9:30 in order to get a good sleep beforehand. However, some days (like today) I can't get in bed by 9:30. So, the question is, if I can't get to bed in time to get a full 8 hours sleep, should I just skip the gym the next morning? Which is more important in these times I have to stay up late, gym or sleep?
I'm going to go with sleep here. Training only works if you recover properly. Exercise is a stress on your body. Sleep is necessary. Without it, there's no recovery, AND you're adding another stressor to the equation. I'm a CF trainer, and I am always recommending this to my athletes. Get your sleep and nutrition dialed in first, and then exercise.
My two cents.
There are two competing interest here; (1) the most inportant factor to overall health is sleep and (2) The most important part in overall fitness is consistency in routine.
So the OP's question is should I deviate from my routine in effort to get more sleep. The answer, as is always is with any thing health and fitness related, is, "it depends."
First, getting up at 5:30 is hard and if you start regularly skipping sessions it is just going to get harder. So maintaining that routine is critical. Part of maintaining that routine is getting to bed on time and if you can't get to bed on time regularly you need to question the whole routine. But assuming you are asking about the rare exeption of when you can't get to bed on time break it down into two catagories:
1) Minor deviation in sleep pattern. Example: It is a random wednesday night and you can't get to sleep until 11pm. Your nutrition has good and you feel great. In this case you are going to get up at 5:30. Sure sleep is important but maintaining that routine is going to trump that lost sleep.
2) Major but temporty deviation in sleep patter. Example: Something came up at work and you've been putting in late nights, eating paleo-ish fast food, and are generally stressed out. In the last 2 weeks you've had several days of getting to bed late. In this case, get some sleep.
In summary, go by how you feel and how often your sleep is getting disrupted. Try to maintain the routine unless maintaining the routine comes at the expense of your recovery. I know that's obvious but it is really no more complicated then that.
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