From time to time, we like to reach into our mailbag and answer some questions right from our readers! You wanted to know: Should I skimp on sleep and hit the gym, or hit the pillow hard and forego exercise. First off, the amount of “enough” sleep is different for everyone, so first establish how much sleep is right for you. Usually between seven and nine hours, but some people only need as few as four!

But let’s assume you know how much sleep you need, and you’re considering cutting it back an hour or two to fit in a workout. Don’t! You can change the amount of time you spend exercising, but you can’t change how much sleep you need. Get plenty of zzz’s and take a brisk walk mid-day, or choose the stairs over the elevator (yes, up and down) — Instant workout, no gym membership required!

The Takeaway: While this isn’t an excuse to avoid exercise every day, if you’re choosing between sleep and working out on an extra-busy day, choose the sleep.

Already Got In That Workout?

Before your head hits the pillow tonight, chug some protein. A recent study showed protein at night improved muscle recovery the next day.

Fun Fact:

Research shows most Americans actually do average eight or more hours of sleep per night. Kudos to you! And folks over 65 slept an average of nine hours… Helloooo, retirement.