As I've been reading through various women's health magazines, (like Runner's World, Women's Running, Shape, Self, Women's Health, and Oxygen), I have read about a few interesting scientific research studies comparing the benefits of sleep to exercise.
These studies compared middle age sedentary women who get 8 hours of sleep a night (or more), with physically active women who get less than 8 hours of sleep. As it turns out, the not active women who slept more were overall healthier than those who exercised but got less sleep!
I have a few questions about these studies that were not answered, like what do they mean when they say "overall healthier?" Do they mean a lower risk of cancers? Do they mean lower incidences of flu or hormonal imbalances? Do they mean that the non-exercisers could run longer with a lower heart rate than the exercisers, simply because they sleep more? I doubt that would be possible, so the study authors must have meant something else.
So, even though I certainly have issues with the terminology & findings of this study, I do wholeheartedly agree that getting 8 or more hours of sleep a night is extremely important to your overall health, well-being, and state of mind.
So, if this perhaps flawed study teaches us anything, it teaches us the importance of getting plenty of zzzz's at night!