Sleep an Extra Hour or Get Up and Exercise?
Better choice: exercise
Contrary to popular belief, a full eight hours of sleep isn't necessary for good health, but regular exercise is.
Studies have shown that people who sleep seven hours a night have a lower mortality rate than those who sleep more than eight hours. And if you have trouble getting up early―for workouts or any other reason―the best solution is…getting up early.
"Going outside to exercise in the morning light will help reset your body clock and eventually make it easier to wake up earlier," explains Shawn D. Youngstedt, Ph.D., a sleep researcher at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
But… If you're particularly sleep-deprived―you have a new baby or you've been pulling all-nighters while preparing for the bar exam―"it's not worth sacrificing sleep to exercise," Manson says. In addition to fatigue and difficulty focusing, inadequate sleep may contribute to depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, according to the National Sleep Foundation.