I'd say try it for a week or two and see how it affects work and school, then go from there.
I work full time and attend law school at night. As you can imagine, this leads to a pretty hectic schedule. This semester, I am in class four nights a week, which eats into my workout time. So, I had planned to get up at 5:30 AM so that I can get my workouts in during the week (nothing too punishing - 20-30 minutes of ballet, or lifting heavy things, or yoga). BUT, now I'm second guessing the getting up early. I otherwise would get up at 6:00 AM, so this isn't much earlier than my usual time. However, this means I will generally log 6.5-7.5 hours of sleep a night, because of how late class goes. So, which is more important?
No one on this site can make a desicion for themselves. And apparently no one on this site can do research for themselves. Heres an idea; work out. If your tired, dont work out. Holly fuck hey? Howevever, i did read that if oyu get less than 8 hours of sleep a night then your life expectancy is reduced by 20 years....
Well, if it absolutely comes down to is, sleep is more important. It's a biological imperative. But it's also an individual thing.
Are you getting enough sleep now? Do you feel tired often? Do you have a hard time waking up? Or do you wake up at 6am feeling fine and ready to go?
Do your doubts come from being worried about sleep quantity, or is it just because 5:30 seems early?
Unless you're chronically tired, you can probably do with slightly less sleep. At least in the short term, as a trial. But don't cut your sleep back too aggressively, because it really is important.
Is there other time you can carve out for training?
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I would take it easy with the strength training at this point in your life. It's natural at times for life to interfere with training. Go light on the training.
when in doubt sleep it out sounds like it could be added stress to an already heavy load
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That is a hectic schedule you have there. I did the night school thing some years ago and its a killer! Four nights is a lot with working all day. Sleep is clearly number one here.
The good news is that it doesn't take nearly as much training as most think to be in very good shape. So why not do one brief but intense weight training session on the weekend? Done properly, you'll make very good progress with this. Then maybe get some lighter activity in the other weekend day. With this approach you are still getting your training in and you'll have plenty of recovery time during the week.
This is surely a time in your life where you have to make certain sacrifices to get through all of this. Eat real food, get as much sleep as possible, get one hard but short session in the gym and one lighter session and you'll be fine.
Usually on the weekends, I try to walk a lot because I sit so much during the day. I usually walk 2-4 hours over the course of two days, just to get outside and de-stress. I hadn't thought about lifting on the weekends because of that, but switching to one intense lifting session may be better than what I'm doing now. Thanks for the suggestion!
Sometimes you have to make a choice what's more important. Law school is not easy and you need to have sufficient sleep to think. Eat as paleo as you can. Are you worried about gaining weight if you do not exercise? Do you have a break in between your classes? Is there a gym at your campus available? When I was in school, I had a 1 hr break in between my classes and instead of socializing I went to my gym nearby the school. I was working a full time job and going to university full time and I spent my off days from work writing papers. I did managed to go to the gym 3 x a week and i just watched my diet.