Winter is most definitely here! Those icy mornings can make it difficult to wake up as leaving the warm, comfy confines of your duvet and blanket to face the chilly reality outside is far from pleasant.
And if that alarm clock goes off when it’s still dark to get in that early morning sweat session, waking up can often seem like an almost impossible task. While sleep and early-morning exercise might seem incompatible, together with nutritious food, they make up the three essentials for good health. As far removed as they might seem, exercise and sleep go hand in hand. “Sleep is like food in the sense that it generates energy that will get you through the day. Without a good night’s rest, your body is incapable of functioning properly,” says Donovan Everitt, founder of Attica Beds.
A mere 10 minutes of cardio exercise in the gym can have a significant impact on the quality of your night-time sleep, especially if you exercise on a regular basis. Regular exercise can also reduce the risk of developing sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
The impact is just as strong the other way around. Sleep deprivation over only four days disrupts your body’s insulin mechanism which leads to grogginess. Severe cases of this can lead to your body storing fat in the wrong places, which in turn can cause obesity and diseases like diabetes.
Just as important, lack of sleep makes it harder for your body to recover from exercise by slowing down the production of growth hormone— which is a fat burner and psotively impacts on ageing.
“Balance is key,” Everitt says. “Without proper sleep, exercise will not have the impact that it should have on your health. And without exercise, you might get less of a good night’s rest. The one is dependent on the other.”
This all sounds like a snowball effect that you cannot get ahead of, and it can be. However, once you establish a balance between enough sleep and exercise, you’ll lead to a healthier and happier life. So maybe an extra hour under the covers is not such a bad thing. Just remember to jump into your gym attire once you do decide to venture out into the cold this winter.