Sleep Versus Exercise: Which Do You Choose?

October 8, 2012 | By | Comments (9)

Last week I had the humbling experience of attending the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, CA. Humbling because the conference is swarming with CEOs and fancy women from the financial world…and then there’s me. The girl who got a D+ in economics in college and drank a beer before the final exam because my friend Megan told me it would help me get a better grade. And I believed her!

But I digress. The yearly Fortune summit is amazing: The speakers are inspiring, the food is great, and when you arrive in the fitness center at 5:45 a.m. because you are still on Eastern Standard Time, nearly every machine is already taken by some high-powered, type-A executive who looks like she eats nails (or people like you) for breakfast.

I hauled my tired derriere to the gym every day I was there, which led to my life-changing discovery. On the last day of the conference, I interviewed Dr. Nancy Snyderman, who is quite beautiful in person, wore jeans on stage (something I always admire), and is an energy dynamo despite the fact that she seems to hold down about four jobs when so many mortals have a hard time handling just one.

My job was to ask Dr. Nancy questions that had been submitted by the attendees. And I did, but I snuck in one of my own: When you have to decide between sleep and exercise, which do you choose?

Friends, the accomplished, smart, and—frankly—very fit-looking Dr. Nancy replied without hesitation: sleep. Apparently there is a connection between adequate sleep and longevity, which she probably went on to explain. But at that point I had ceased listening and begun daydreaming about another hour of sleep, multiplied by the approximate 104 days a year that I try to squeeze in exercise during the week. That’s one hundred and four more hours of sleep in just one year!

My question to you: Are you making the right choice? I definitely was not. And so, in the five days I’ve been home from the conference, I think I’ve gained about seven pounds. But I’m so well-rested, I don’t even care.

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