I’m so incredibly lucky that I can fall asleep (and remain asleep) almost anywhere, no matter the circumstances. I know that the seven to eight hours I get each night are important and helpful to my daily, rigorous training; it’s fitting them in that has to remain a priority. I have an insane puppy, 8-year-old twin boys, a husband who works from home, a part-time job…and I’m training for a half Ironman. It’s not easy, but these are the things that help me:
I find that I don’t necessarily need to get a full eight hours of sleep every night. If I can sleep soundly and uninterrupted for seven or even six hours, that seems to be a sufficient amount to restore muscle fatigue, boost my immune system, lower my risk of injury and facilitate rehydration. And yes–studies show that all of that and more happens when you sleep!
Make your bedroom a place for quiet and reserve it for sleep only. If my husband would let me, I would take the television out of there, along with all other screens and devices. Your bedroom should be a shrine for sleep so that, when you’re in it, your body knows what it’s supposed to do.
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day–or on as many days as possible. You have probably read this advice many times over, but professionals give this advice for a reason: it works! Your body has a natural sleep-wake rhythm, and if you disrupt it by more than an hour or so, you will feel the sluggish effects. Unfortunately, this means having the same sleep patterns on the weekends, but if you have kids and a dog, this isn’t really an issue!
Schedule sleep like you would a hard workout. You wouldn’t skip a long run before your marathon, so why skip out on your sleep training?
Having a bright, glowing screen in your face just before you try to power your body down for the night is not doing you any favors. I use technology to my advantage and have a “go to sleep” alarm. When it sounds, I listen!
Try to avoid strenuous workouts, caffeine, a big meal and (sorry!) alcohol within an hour of turning out the lights.
How do you get enough sleep? Tweet us @WomensRunning with the #sleeplikeanelite tag to let us know.