I've heard that it is better to get up at the same time every day, to program your inner clock, than it is to sleep in a little extra some days. Is this true? I usually get up at 5 for the gym, but some days (today included), I decided to skip the gym and sleep until 6:30 because I've been so tired lately. Would I be better off sticking to a routine sleep schedule?
You're on the right track.. Yes, lots of sleep specialists have noted that sticking to a regular sleep routine is beneficial for the body and to a lot of things like immune function, stress relief, hormonal functions, and metabolism. Having an irregular sleep schedule means you are much more likely to suffer from insomnia--but if you program your body to feel "tired" at a certain time and wake up at a certain time, you are much more likely to get the optimal amount of sleep.
A lot of personal trainers I have spoken with have also noted the importance of exercising in the morning. I'm not sure what the mechanics are, but I've heard that cardio in the morning, on an empty stomach, is great for the body. You're also less likely to skip out on the gym at the end of a long work day if you get it over with in the morning--and it gives you an extra energy boost to face the day.
well... i don't have a routine but i do sleep at least 8 hrs per night. when DH works in the afternoon we usually get up at 10-11 AM and go to bed at 1 AM the next day LOL when he works the morning shift i wake up at 4 AM to make breakfast then go back to sleep at 5 AM , wake up at around 8:30 AM and go to sleep at 11 PM or so....
i never had problem sleeping though :)
It all depends. A recent Japanese study found that early rising when you need more sleep is bad for your heart. There you go. You now have the perfect excuse to sleep in!
Honestly, from all the research I've done (which is plenty since I'm a science writer), I think it's a lot more important to go to bed at around the same time than it is to wake up at the same time. If you have a consistent bedtime but some days you feel the need to sleep a little longer it's probably because your body needs it. Every day is different and the reasons aren't always obvious. Your body could be fighting an unseen infection, or you're hashed over an emotional upset. Whatever the reason, sometimes our bodies naturally need more rest than others.
Routines Work. The body gets use to a routine; it functions better. Reason I know this is because if I ever travel my routine gets changed and body needs to sleep more than usual.
Or, if I am working on a project that keeps me up later than usual, I am tired the next day. I need a nap. Then, I want to get to bed early to get back to the routine.
Each person is different, but I still feel that one has to have some sort of routine even if it doesn't appear to be one -- it's to a certain degree a routine.
Parents are all too familiar with routines and changing them as their little ones grow up.