Sleep or Exercise?

Sleep Graphic

I didn’t believe this quote until a few months ago. I always knew getting sleep was critical, but I don’t think I fully realized the importance of it. In college, I had to get up before 5 am everyday during the week to make it to practice…and that was only the first practice of the day. Seeing a “4” at the beginning of my alarm was always depressing, but what about all of the times I woke up before my alarm with anxiety that I would oversleep? It’s a wonder that I did so well in swimming during college.

Fast forward to after graduation when I was working two jobs and getting hardly ANY sleep. I would work at a restaurant until late and wake up early to get to my other job. I also was dating someone who worked late and the only time we could sleep with each other was after our shifts. I would say I was getting 4-5 hours of sleep per night on average. Now for some people (those super-humans), that is enough. Well because of the lack of sleep and being overworked, I contracted mono. *Joy* It knocked me out for awhile and ever since then (4 years later) I have been an absolute FREAK about sleep. I will not allow my body to run on that little sleep again. (I think it’s just a self-preservation mechanism at this point.)

Being a college athlete though, and someone involved in sport since I was a young child, exercise has always been at the top of my list. It didn’t matter what stress I was under or how much sleep I got the night before, I was at the gym. Believing in “paleo” doesn’t just mean to avoid grains, processed foods and everything else that is preached, but it’s looking at your lifestyle from a holistic perspective. You can avoid ice cream and pasta all you want, but how can you expect to live and feel healthy if you’re not drinking enough water, or moving or SLEEPING. Sleeping is so crucial to health, that when it boils down to hitting the gym or getting enough sleep…sleep takes precedence over working out.

I have been making a real effort these past few months to practice this. I try to fit it all in – gym, paleo eating, sleep – but if I can help getting enough sleep over my normal daily responsibilities, that is what I’m going to do.

Get your zzz’s 🙂

– J


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