We all know it – recovery is key to getting better results from training. Sleep is one of the best ways to do that!
I’ll be the first to admit it (after my mother, who constantly tells me to get to bed earlier, stop watching TV at night
& stop waking her up early in the morning … and let’s be honest, this time Mom is completely correct), I have a poor relationship with sleep. Whether it’s sleeping quality, quantity, or pattern, I do suffer from staying up later than I should whilst also getting up earlier than I should. Netflix is a particular demon I struggle to best!
My commitments are relatively straightforward: I have work 3 days a week, a directorship that steals attention as often as it can, in-class university study 4 days a week, out-of-class university study during the day & night, and training as close to full-time as I possibly can. My sleep deprivation started during the last semester of uni exams, when I ended up staying up later than usual in order to cram (note to self and others – don’t put studying off that late, you’ll end up regretting it!). I was able to adopt and adapt to the routine relatively easily, but now find myself struggling to get back to my usual routine. By keeping my brain active with trivial things (like writing random blog posts) I’m also increasingly finding that keeping the new late-night routine is easy. This has left me getting somewhere around 5-6 hours of sleep per night, rather than the recommended 8-9 hours full of REM sleep.
So, how could I stop?
After seeking some advice from friends, family, and a well-meaning mother, I’ve found some potential solutions. They include:
- zero ‘bluescreen time’ before bed, ie no phone, laptop, tv
- do some light reading before bed
- take a sedative eg NyQuil, melatonin, GABA
- re-create my routine – set a concrete bed-time and stick to it no matter what I’m doing at the time
- meditation/meditation app
- stop working out so late – one of the things I admit I do is workout and ‘try to be productive’ in the late evening, which lead to a suggestion of a new rule: ‘nothing productive happens after 9pm’ (meaning both triathlon-related stuff and uni activity)
- remove any ‘late evening distractions’
I’m well aware that I’m quite lucky, able to stay at home, train, study and work with few worries. Hopefully, this will enable me to test out which one of the above ideas will work the best for me, and I’ll update this post in the near future with the best one that works. Its probably worth noting that while the above ideas are worth looking into generally, what works for me might not work for you and vice-versa. If you’re like me and looking for a way to sleep better, then it’s worth testing out the ones which are most appropriate for you!