Sound Sleep vs. Regular Exercise – A Comparison

By Shantanu Sodhi +2 more

The three pillars of a healthy and fit lifestyle are regular exercise, a balanced and nutritious diet, as well as adequate sleep at night. Doctors and nutritionists have always been of a unanimous opinion when it comes to the benefits of a nutritious diet. However, there have often been debates about the benefits of good sleep compared to the benefits of physical activity. If you suffer from this common dilemma of whether to prioritize 8 hours of sleep over 1 hour of physical activity and exercise, then it is best to consider the following facts.

Why Adequate Sleep?

While exercise may be a requirement in the modern sedentary and urban lifestyle of most Indians, overindulgence in work can often lead to tiredness and fatigue. Most people tend to forego the benefits of good sleep in exchange for an adrenaline-pumping session of physical activity at the gym. While the effects of exercise on the body may be unparalleled, without the required 8 hours of sleep, you will not experience any muscle regeneration after an intense workout session.

Is Physical Exercise more Important?

The effects of exercise on the body have been well documented and proven for several years. Specifically for people with chronic conditions like Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, regular physical exercise can be highly effective in symptom management. Getting an adequate amount of sleep without any physical activity could lead to serious health complications in the form of Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity and even certain coronary heart diseases. That does not mean the benefits of physical exercise can surpass the benefits of good sleep.

Health Benefits of Exercise and Sleep

Adequate amount of sleep, as well as a general physical activity both, have a positive impact on physical health. While the benefits of physical exercise include increased cardiovascular capabilities and physical fitness, the benefits of good sleep include increased physical vitality, better mental health and higher energy levels. Moreover, a minimum of 8 hours of sleep has often been deemed essential for people in competitive sports because, without proper rest, the body cannot keep up with the requirements of competitive sports. On the other hand, the effects of exercise on the body are also indispensable when it comes to maintaining good health.

Effects on Mental Health

The benefits of physical exercise on mental health have been avidly researched and most have concluded that physical exercise helps relieve stress and tension arising out of the monotonous pressure of daily life. Physical exercise also helps uplift mood due to the release of happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Therefore, it can also help to boost your self-esteem and encourage a positive and holistic outlook on life.

A healthy 8 hours of sleep, on the other hand, can help to maintain emotional and mental stability. It can be extremely helpful for people suffering from depression and anxiety as it helps to relax the mind as well as the body. Moreover, with adequate amounts of sleep, you can also see a significant improvement in your concentration power and overall mood.

Good Sleep vs Adequate Exercise

To solve this common dilemma, the benefits and drawbacks of physical exercise and 8 hours of sleep need to be compared and contradicted. While the benefits of physical exercise may be important for physical fitness, it does put some physical strain and may be difficult to perform with people suffering from severe ailments. However, the benefits of good sleep can truly enhance your mental as well as physical well-being without any fatigue or extra effort.


Therefore, it is suggested that you should try to include some exercise and quality sleep in your daily routine. Even if you do not get enough physical exercise due to unavoidable circumstances, you should never skip out on 8 hours of sleep. The duration of sleep, the routine of sleep and quality of sleep are all important for good health. Both exercise and good sleeping habits bring with them a host of health benefits and you should try and avail all of them for a happy and healthy life.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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