On Wednesday I went on a 209km audax. 10.5 hours at an average rate of tempo (HRM stats) TSS 403, 45 year old male, 50% Strong headwind and 2500m elevation. Wet and between 0-5 degrees Celsius. So a good, hard ride for me.
I am interested (as I am every time I do a long, hard effort) as to why I don’t sleep well that same night. Most would say you should sleep like a baby. That’s not the case. I sleep very lightly and wake frequently. On this ride, my nutrition and hydration were bang on, so no issues there.
What’s happening hormonally, chemically, psychologically, physiologically etc?
I would appreciate your ideas as I aim to speed up my recovery which surely be suffering due to poor sleep which is generally fine the next night.
I appreciate this may not matter for multi-day events as I’ll only be snatching naps here and there.
could be down to high levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine
Did you use a lot of caffeine on the ride? That’d be my first thought.
Caffeine intake is no different to a normal day really. If I need something hot on a cold day I tend to go for something like hot chocolate rather than coffee.
I should add: I experience head fuzziness after a long drive.* and I need time to ‘come down’ before I hit the sack, because I’m buzzing from the concentration and work my eyes and brain must be doing. I get this feeling on long Cycle rides.
- Long drives in the UK and in the USA are two different things
Just based on n=my friends, this is very very common. More the rule than the exception. I can even feel my legs spinning while I lay still in bed.
Assuming it is due cortisol, quick googling reveals
Never thought much about it, just suffered through. But probably will try it out in coming outdoor season
I’m keen on natural options so I really appreciate the recommendation.
Especially the ‘Smell of the horse’ bit
To be honest, can’t recommend it personally – as said, always took it as fact of life. But thanks for creating the topic, now that we think about it, maybe we can do something
Yeah same here. After a hard day, especially if the workout is in the afternoon or later in the evening, I don’t sleep well. The TR Podcast has talked about the reasoning behind this but I don’t remember what episode it was but there is reasoning behind and as mentioned above is very common.
200k doesn’t do that to me at all. I have been surprised after a 1200k (which featured 6 hours sleep) that I didn’t really sleep any extra afterwards. Not really an issue though. But there have been a couple 600k’s where driving home was a real adventure. One time I stopped for a short nap and woke up 8 hours later.
This happens to me after evening races. As some others have mentioned it’s pretty common.
I don’t really have any tips per se that aren’t just general good sleep hygiene (dark room, screen time, etc).
I do expect it though and try to give myself permission to sleep poorly. As in not getting (or trying not to get) anxious about the fact I’m not sleeping which creates a strong positive feedback loop.
I think your last point is very important. I used to have trouble sleeping before events. I always remind myself that just lying there has almost all of the same benefits as sleeping. Then I go to sleep. Maybe that’s not true, but I’m sure it beats lying there fretting about not getting sleep. I think the other thing that happened is I found out I can function pretty well on a bike with very little sleep. That takes a lot of stress off. Give me 90 minutes and I’m good
So helpful everyone. Thank you. I’m trying to remember whether it was a Nordic audax organisation that banned driving after van event for 12+ hours. I’ve driven after all night rides and I’ve had to pull over and cat nap.
Not for 8 hours though That made me laugh @eekeller
That’s been my experience, in any case. I function much better after a night with 2-3 hours of sleep and a lot of restless laying about than I’d really expect. At least as long as it doesn’t happen too many days in a row. It’s definitely not fun though.
When I have done full IM races, I always sleep like crap that night…dunno what the root cause is - cortisol, adrenaline or whatever, but seems pretty common that after long days of endurance activity, many people don’t sleep well that night.
Remember that sleeping like a baby means you wake up every 2 hours, crying, hungry and with a load in your diaper.
I prefer to sleep like the dead.
most people with normal sleep patterns wake up every 90 minutes*, it’s just that they don’t know it. It’s best to aim for multiples of 90 minutes of sleep. This is one thing I have learned from randonneuring that is useful to me in my daily life.
*hopefully not crying