I recently read an article in Running Times about elite Kenyan runner, Betsy Saina. The article discusses how sleep is key to her success. She logs 9-10 hours per night plus 3-hour naps daily! It seems like a lot of sleep, but the benefits of getting that kind of rest were further confirmed when I read an old Competitor article about the correlation between getting 10-hours of sleep per night and an improved athletic performance.
While sleeping, your body is able to absorb and recover from training so you can run strong and avoid injury during your waking hours. However, just like nutrition, the amount of sleep everyone needs is different. The key is getting enough for your body.
I tend to need at least 8 hours to feel my best - and 9 hours is even better. For awhile, I was kind of slacking in this area and trying to get by on 6.5 or 7 hours of sleep. I found myself staying up later - but still having to get up at the same time in the morning. And paying the price with low energy levels and sluggish legs during runs.
So these past few weeks, I've put a stop to this and have been turning out the lights at 10pm. And then, it's just a matter of getting quality rest. Here are a few things I do to sleep better:
Keep the temperature down. I find I sleep best in a cool room. Hot, stuffy rooms lead to a night of tossing and turning.
Invest in a good pillow and sheets. A higher thread count and comfortable pillow make a difference! I was recently sent a Tempur-Pedic pillow* and absolutely love it. The pillow provides great support while conforming to my head and neck. And after each use, it bounces back to its original shape!
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. My exception to this is a Smooth Caffeinator Picky Bar before my Tuesday workouts.
Silence your phone. Your phone likely has a Do Not Disturb setting. I have mine set so my phone doesn't ring or vibrate between the hours of 10pm and 7am except for family members. This helps avoid waking up every time a new text or call or social media notification arrives. Because let's be honest - the vast majority of that stuff can wait to be addressed until the next day!
Hopefully the extra rest will pay off at my next race. I believe it's already making a difference in my training not to mention my mood and energy levels!
My questions for you:
- How many hours of sleep do you get each night? Is it too little or enough?
- What tips do you have to get better quality rest?
Wishing you all a week of fantastic sleep!
*I was provided with a free Tempur-Pedic pillow but was not asked to write or compensated for a review. All views and opinions are my own.