Triathlete’s Better Sleep Guide And Tips

How do you achieve the highest quality of sleep to give you the best opportunity to compete? For numerous athletes in different age groups, a day of twenty-four hours is not enough to manage their tasks, family duties and athletic commitments. Understandably, people attempt to fit more activities into their day by not getting enough rest.

A recent Gallup study revealed that a large % of UK citizens, 40%, are not receiving the recommended amount of sleep, which is six hours or more each night. This has led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to consider sleep deprivation a “public health problem.”

Going without sleep periodically can raise the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack as well as issues with mental health.

For athletes, the consequences continue. The amount of sleep a person gets influences their speed of healing, metabolism rate, hormones, and overall ability to recover.

Even though some may think of sleep as unfruitful or wasted time, that is not true. When one is sleeping, the body is repairing all the physical and emotional stress that has been put on it during the day.

In short, the outcome of your competition on the day of the race may not solely hinge on your training efforts but also on your ability to rest properly.

Kelly Glazer Baron from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine insists that if she could only suggest one thing to athletes it would be to establish a consistent sleep pattern and prevent the need to continue practising or sitting through a television show for another twenty minutes.

Giving sleep the same importance as all the other duties during your day can assist in making you become content, strong, and more capable athlete.

Throughout the evening, the average grown-up alternates between the different stages of slumber.

Around half of the sleeping is taken up by level two, or slight sleep, which doesn’t have much of a recuperative impact; a third of it is set aside for stage three, or profound sleep, where the blood streams towards the muscles to mend any damage from the day before; and the last fifth of the time is spent in REM rest, the place where psychological procedures are re-established.

It is suggested by the National Sleep Foundation that most adults receive at least seven hours of snoozing each night to let their body adequate time spent in stage 3 and REM rest.

Athletes have to have at least nine hours of sleep nightly because it is necessary for the recovery process.

It is essential to cultivate an enduring routine of sufficient quantity of sleep – going to bed for 10 hours during the week before a race does not counterbalance the effects of an extended period of occupation and lack of sleep.

Countdown to ZZZ

The choices you make in the timespan before you go to sleep can greatly affect the rest you get. By lunchtime, make sure to complete your most difficult workout of the day, eight hours before going to bed. Doing strenuous activity close to bedtime can cause your body temperature and heart rate to become high, making it hard to drift off to sleep.

Seven hours before the time of going to sleep, it is suggested to replace caffeinated drinks such as coffee or soda with water, fruit juices, or herbal teas. Caffeine, a stimulant, can take hours to be eliminated from the blood. Consuming only one cup of coffee in the late afternoon may result in spending an hour less sleeping that night.

By lunchtime, make sure to complete your most challenging workout of the day within 6 hours of going to bed. Doing vigorous workouts close to bedtime will raise your body temperature and heart rate, thus making it hard to drift off to sleep. 3 hours before bed: Sit down for supper. If you eat something substantial just before bed it could raise your blood sugar and insulin levels, making it difficult to drift off.

Eat a snack with sleep-promoting ingredients within an hour and a half before going to bed, as suggested in the article “Eat to Sleep.”

Approximately 60 minutes before sleeping, shut down the laptop, turn off the mobile device and deactivate the television. Keeping the lights off in your home indicates that it is time to go to sleep since the brightness of electronics can fool your body into believing that it is daytime.

Set the thermostat to your desired temperature for sleep a half hour before you go to bed.

Around 20 minutes before going to bed, make sure to brush your teeth and clean your face. Cover your eyes with a cloth that is warm and damp, and breathe in the calming vapour.

Give yourself fifteen minutes before bed to do a nighttime yoga routine.

Five minutes before turning in for the night, climb into bed, turn off the light, and spend the time allowing your mind and body to let go and become relaxed.

Cool Off To Doze Off

If insomnia is a problem, check your thermostat. When you go to bed, your body temperature will usually decrease by about 2 degrees, providing an ideal environment for deep and REM sleep.

If outside conditions (like sheets or the temperature in the room) are either too hot or too cold, it can be difficult to get the highest quality of sleep.

Most specialists in the field of sleep suggest that the temperature of the thermostat be set to 65 degrees. Athletes with a higher metabolism may find a room that is at 62 degrees to be comfier.

Savasana To Slumber

As reported in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology in 2012, people who do yoga before bed experienced a remarkable decrease in difficulties related to insomnia.

Lauren Cutshaw from Yoga Six, a nationwide studio, suggests a few restorative yoga positions along with focused breathing that help the body unwind and get ready for a peaceful sleep. Certain poses can trigger a calming effect by activating the sympathetic nervous system.

Before heading to bed, try Cutshaw’s simple yoga routine.

Head to Knee Forward Bend

Rest on the ground and stretch out your right leg in front of you (if your hamstrings are tight, put a cushion or block beneath you for help). Bend your left leg and place your left foot on the inside of your right thigh. Position your hands on your hips and inhale deeply while straightening your back.

Breathe out and rotate your body to the right, so that your navel is in line with your right leg. Inhale deeply, and when you exhale, bend forward at the hips while keeping your chest above the knee.

Breathe mindfully in this position for 45–60 seconds. Leave the posture you entered in, and then repeat on the other side.

Legs Up the Wall

Place yourself on the floor with the space between your hips and the wall approximately a few inches apart. Raise your legs against the wall and keep your arms by your side, with your hands upturned.

Take 6 to 8 deep breaths. Take a few deep breaths and rest, maintaining the posture for 2-4 minutes. To get out of the position, hug your legs to your chest and then roll onto your side. Recline Bound Angle Pose

While in a reclining position, bring the bottoms of your feet together. Permit your knees to gently move outward toward the sides.

Inhale and exhale slowly 6 to 8 times, paying close attention to how your belly and chest expand and retract with each breath. Resume your normal breathing pattern while maintaining the pose for between two and four minutes.

Supine Twist

Recumbent with your legs drawn up to your torso. Breathe deeply and mindfully, concentrating on your lower back. When it’s time, spread out your arms at your sides with your palms facing upward, forming a “T” with your body.

Inhale deeply and exhale as your legs sink to the side. Take in a full breath of air and retain this gentle twist for about 60 seconds. Breathe in as you bring your legs back to the middle, wait for one breath and then switch sides and repeat.

The importance of sleep for triathletes

Triathletes need to get a large quantity of deep sleep before a big race since their training for multiple sports requires a lot of endurance. These sports are usually comprised of running, biking, and swimming, so the amount of muscle recovery depends on the quality of their sleep.

If you fail to get a sufficient amount of sleep, especially restorative sleep, you can become extremely exhausted, irritable, and, in some extreme circumstances, experience persistent agony.

For a triathlete who is enduring significant strain from heavy training and taking part in competitions, a lack of sufficient rest further exacerbates these issues, significantly increasing the probability of enduring health issues and injury in the future.

How can you better your sleep so your body is ready to reach that final goal? Below, we’ve rounded up expert-approved sleep advice for triathletes.

Best sleep tips for triathletes

No matter how much experience you have with triathlons, the following sleep suggestions can help you perform at your best during a long-distance competition.

1. Eat more magnesium-rich foods

Daniel Ritcher, a certified personal trainer and owner of StrengthLog, declares that magnesium can help to enhance sleep quality, mainly in mature people.

Magnesium can help keep GABA, a neurotransmitter that increases relaxation and decreases stress, on an even keel. Magnesium at high levels decreases the accumulation of lactic acid in muscles, thus avoiding stiffness, spasms, and suffering after exercise. This makes it the perfect nutrient for triathletes.

Magnesium can be seen in food items like pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, black beans, soy milk, and dark chocolate.

2. Avoid caffeine after lunchtime

Richter suggests foregoing your post-lunch espresso so that you can drift off more easily come nighttime.

Caffeine remains in the body for a duration of six to eight hours. If you ingest a considerable amount of coffee in the afternoon, you will still have some of the caffeine in your body by the evening.

It’s best to stop caffeine consumption at 2 p.m. If you’re someone who enjoys having coffee in the afternoon, it would be a good idea to switch to decaffeinated coffee or tea after 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

3. Ditch the electronics before bed

Jonathan Cane, who is the head coach at City Coach, an online training and personal coaching agency, he faces difficulty in falling asleep quickly after undertaking an active evening whereas his partner Nicole Sin Quee, who is a triathlete as well as a fitness model, falls asleep immediately.

Cane finds it amusing that his wife Nicole can get off the bicycle exercise machine at 11pm, take a shower, and then be sound asleep no more than fifteen minutes later. “Me? I need time to wind down. I’m not a fan of herbal tea or yoga, but I find that a warm cup of hot cocoa and unplugging my devices help me relax.

The glow that is coming from digital screens which are in blue colour can change your body’s internal timing, making it difficult to go to sleep. It would be a great idea for triathletes to turn off their electronics for one to two hours before going to sleep.

If you can’t sleep, try to put away your cell phone and turn off the television so your body will recognize it is time to sleep. We have compiled this collection of restful activities for the evening to do instead of viewing electronic screens.

4. Build a sleep routine—and stick to it

Emily Hoskins, the executive producer at Saatva and a triathlete, believes that making sure she receives enough sleep is essential to remain a resilient athlete. She gives it the same significance as her training and other daily obligations.

She engages in a regular evening ritual to set herself up for a good night’s rest.

Hoskins suggests that in addition to avoiding the use of one’s phone and caffeine before settling in for the night, one can prepare a peaceful area outside the bedroom to relax and find something enjoyable to do to make the bedtime routine more of a pleasurable experience. It doesn’t make sense to expect to become famished if you are sitting at a dining table, similarly, there is no logic in waiting in bed to feel tired.

Hoskins asserts that adhering to her usual schedule, particularly before the important race, aids her in feeling more relaxed.

She mentions that the expectation of the day of the race brings equal amounts of wonderment and nervousness. Ever since I began competing in races ten years ago, I would be unable to sleep due to worrying about how I needed to get some rest. I ceased ruminating and got ready for bed as if it was just another exercise session.

5. Steer clear of late-night exercising

Sin Quee is an example of a triathlete who can drift off to sleep swiftly after a difficult evening training session. For those like Hoskins, it is tricky to fall asleep when they engage in exercise in the evenings as it causes their body temperature and pulse rate to skyrocket.

If you are unable to sleep after exercising at night, it could be a sign that you need to reconsider when you are doing your workout.

Hoskins states that he completes his toughest exercise routine before having breakfast. She prefers to take a stroll in the evenings as her preferred method of calming down, even if she has an upcoming race.

6. Try melatonin

Sin Quee has recently been taking melatonin as a way to help her sleep. She consumes this two nights before a contest to ensure she has a good night’s sleep before the vital event. This stops the gathering of weariness and guarantees her body is rested, set up, and prepared to start.

She avoids consuming melatonin the evening before an event, since she doesn’t anticipate resting well because of her feeling of nervousness, having to wake up at an early time and typically not being in her own bed.

Melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep, is created by the pineal organ located in the brain. It is essential in aiding your body to keep a regular sleep cycle.

You can buy melatonin at a store without a prescription, and studies suggest it may be useful in treating trouble sleeping or adjusting to a new time zone. You should talk to your doctor before beginning to take any new supplement.

7. Get some morning sunshine

Certainly, all athletes training for a future event will be exposed to sunlight at some point throughout the day – however, they must receive morning sunlight to regulate their internal body clock.

Hoskins states that previously he was not an early riser, but realized that getting exposed to natural sunlight at the start of the day helps get his body running on an internal clock. Thick curtains provide enough darkness while asleep and they also allow the beautiful sunlight to seep inside the room, creating a dreamy awakening just like a sleeping princess.

How to rest after a race

If you are curious as to what is required to get a good sleep following a contest, you will be amazed to find out that the responsibility is your own!

Every triathlete has their own way of winding down. For some people, being able to go back home and get some restful sleep over the next couple of days is a priority. For others, it is a joyous occasion of recognizing their notable achievement which causes them gratification.

According to Cane, no running competition is really total unless there is a trip to IHOP after, although as a coach, he ought to focus on the importance of nutrition for recovery afterwards. To be serious, in addition to having an IHOP breakfast, having good nutrition and getting enough rest are essential. A leisurely swim on the following day can help facilitate recovery, and a soothing massage would be a pleasant indulgence.


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