Does it matter when you exercise?
TLDR; nope. Plus a bit on sleep and how you can try to sleep better.
How’s it going? Thanks for stopping by today. It’s nice to see you.
We’ve talked about hydration and stress. Today it’s about sleep. But first I found that someone has ponied up with a lot of cash to run a controlled test study on whether it’s better to exercise in the morning or in the evening. And I just wanted to share with you that wow.. some academics HAVE FAR TOO MUCH MONEY AND TIME ON THEIR HANDS.
Like, for reals?
However, I read the study courtesy of PN Academy that I’m a member of (I’ll talk more about that later) and I want to break it down for you, so that if you are in a social situation, or even in the unfortunate position of a fitness group with reckons spouting dude-bros about how it’s like, so much better to train first thing.. you’ll be able to defend your exercise preference, if you want to of course.
So. The short and narrow study was about a bunch of reasonably healthy young men (eye roll, women don’t exist apparently) to see if there is a right time to exercise. Leaving my wtf feelings aside, they fed the men a high fat diet of 65% fat, and then had one group exercise at night, one in the morning and one not at all. They measured success as to which of the groups reduced body fat and cholesterol throughout the trial and the results came in that night time was the “best” time to exercise.
However, and this is why I love the scientists at PN Academy - they have the same quizzical wtf-ness as I do around these things, relevancy to the every day person is what was missing from this proclamation of night owl exercising being better that early bird.
If you are new to moving your body, any time of the day that you are able to do so is the right time to exercise. None of this morning or night is better than the other rubbish.
The study also failed to balance up the opportunity cost of exercising at night. Does it mean you miss putting your kids to bed? Do you miss your favourite TV show? Spending time with your partner? Putting a pointless value on exercising at a time when you have other things you’d rather do, surely it cancels out the good of the exercise?
Anyway, moving right along. Sleepy time. Now this is the important part.
We’re not stupid. I think everyone knows sleep is important. When we sleep, our body goes through a beautiful regeneration stage (sort of) and so when we wake up we feel refreshed and energetic and ready to take on the day.
Except, very few people wake up like that.
And I think it’s because it’s one of those scenarios where we know a thing is good for us to do, but we just don’t place a strong enough priority against it.
Me as well, I’m super guilty of not prioritising sleep. So here’s how to do it in a way that’s achievable. Y’all know what I’m gonna say right?
Get yourself a sleep dial!
It’s cool, I can hear your collective groans about the dial yet again, but let’s face it. The dial works in pretty much every single facet of healthy habit forming behaviour. It’s easy and flexible, and we have enough on our plates without adding inflexible, difficult things to it.
Here’s where you start with a sleep dial. Remember, a dial is just a list of activities you can try depending on how much energy and spoons you have for them. Some days are spot on and exemplary, others not so much. And so in no particular order:
Going to bed by 9pm (or allowing 8 hours of sleep time if you’re a shift worker)
Reading a book before bed rather than watching tv or scrolling on your phone
Making a cup of sleepy time tea an hour before bed
Limit your alcohol and caffeine before bedtime
Optimise your bedroom - black out curtains, less clutter, is it too hot or cold at night?
Do you need a new pillow or mattress? Maybe even just some fresh sheets on your bed could help.
What will you try tonight? Personally I am planning on decluttering my bedroom and it’s fresh sheet day for us anyway. I’m going to try read a book before bed, but that might be pushing it for me. We’ll see.
Take care my pals, and I’ll spot you next time.
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