Wednesday, April 15, 2015

You Snooze, You Win

You know that old saying, you snooze, you lose? When it comes to running that's not really how it works. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite! So lately, I've been all about getting more zzz's.

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!

- ST


*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.

10 comments:

  1. I've been getting 8-9 hours a sleep / night the past month. This meant shifting some to dos (blog/home stuff) to the weekend. I am feeling much better in the morning. I've cut out coffee and trying to limit my diet soda intake.

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    1. Thank goodness for the weekends to catch up on stuff :) Great job limiting the diet soda and you are a brave woman to cut out coffee - I'm down to one cup a day but don't think I can give it up!

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  2. Most nights, I'm able to get 8-9 hours, which is my sweet spot. A few days, I have to wake up super early to run before opening at work, but can't fall asleep at 8 the night before in order to get that much, so those nights are usually 7-7.5 hours. I'm sure if I get into marathon training, I would have no problem with going to bed that early though lol. I can't keep a computer or an ipad or anything in my room because I'll just get distracted and end up staying up later than I want to in bed haha.

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    1. Ha, that's how I am, too - no electronics because otherwise I get too distracted. 7-7.75 hours is still pretty good if you're getting in a morning run, too!

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  3. I definitely don't get as much sleep as I should. That's partly because I get up at 4:45 every morning for work and don't get to bed anywhere close to as early as I should.

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    1. Yikes - a 4:45am wake-up call would definitely make it difficult to get enough sleep. Hopefully you get to catch up a bit during the weekends :)

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  4. I have been working hard lately at sleeping more (haha that sounds kind of funny). I'm kind of an insomniac though and have always had a hard time getting to bed at a reasonable hour. And then I work out in the mornings so that tends to equal not enough sleep. I don't think I could get 8 hours in if I tried, but usually I'm good after about 6.

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    1. It sounds like you're one of those lucky people that can get by on fewer hours - I'm jealous! :)

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  5. This is a great post and I 2nd everything you said!
    I can't function if I don't get good sleep, and ya my running will suffer too.
    Fortunately I think it is because of my Epstein Barr I can sleep as long as I allow myself, in fact if I don't set an alarm I have been known to sleep most a day away, which is bad.
    But I like to attempt to get 8 hours, and 9 if I am overworked or something:)
    Great post!!!

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    1. Thanks Kristy! When I'm overworked or overloaded I could also sleep the day away. Vacation days almost always mean 10+ hours of sleep and it's glorious :)

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