More Exercise or More Sleep?

The ubiquitous Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD, MBA, has emerged on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) with a new show called “Surgeon Oz” (he does about 400 operations a year in addition to his television work).

In one of the early segments, The Oz was queried as to which is more important — an extra hour of exercise or an extra hour of sleep. The answer came quickly.

“I feel pretty passionately about this,” he said. “If you have the choice between an extra hour of sleep or an extra hour of working out, you sleep.”

He explained: “People who don’t sleep gain weight. People who don’t sleep have immune problems and a whole slew of other problems. Why deal with that?”

The doc also recommended that women sleep between 7 and 7.5 hours a night while men need a half-hour or so more, with 8 hours being a good goal.

None of this is new, of course, but Dr. Oz has a wide-ranging audience, so maybe the message will get out about the importance of sleep and good sleep hygiene.

A lot of us are our own worst enemies when it comes to sleep. We do a lot of things before bedtime that make it harder to sleep, including our “addictions” to electronic devices (TVs, tablets, phablets, cell phones, computers) and our emotional needs to eat and drink to compensate for the stress in our daily lives.

Exercise can indeed help us deal with stress and even lead to better sleep, but the bigger issue is watching our sleep hygiene, so that we can indeed get the rest and rejuvenation we need each night.

Keep a sleep diary of everything you do day and night for a week or two and see if you’re doing things that work against your sleep, and then change your habits as necessary. Your sleep should definitely improve. If, however, even with good sleep hygiene, you’re overly tired (or tired at all) each day, then seek professional help.

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