Since I started the program I feel like a I need a crowbar to pry myself out of bed in the morning. I have never been much of a morning person but this is a noticeable shift. I have been getting the same amount of sleep but do I need to plan for more sleep while doing this stuff? Is there an adjustment period?
Background: I am 48 (49 next month). I am relatively new to cycling altogether having started 3 years ago to lose weight. I have improved my diet as well. I am completely new to structured cycling training.
When I am training hard, I need more sleep than when I am in the off season. 9 hours is what I need per night during hard training, easy life periods. Hard training, hard life and I need more (but get less).
I also feel like I need more sleep when training. It’s not always possible to squeeze in a few more hours at night, but I found naps during the day pretty helpful. Instead of going out to eat on my lunch break at work, I nap instead. In order to accomplish this I pack my lunch and eat it while I’m actually “working” to take advantage of the full break hour. I can fall asleep anywhere, so I can usually net a good 30-45 minutes of nap-time.
My second point is to try and maximize sleep hygiene to get the best night sleep possible.
Things I’ve done:
Avoid any stimulants too close to bed, so no caffeine for me past 2pm or so.
Late workouts tend to make it difficult for me to fall asleep, so I try to do them earlier in the day.
I try and avoid any electronics 1-2 hours before bed. And if I do need to use my cellphone, I have the night mode blue light filter set to automatically engage with sunset.
I keep my bedroom cool
I “try” to limit alcohol in the evenings
I try and avoid heavy meals in the evening
I use a watch to track my sleep. While this doesn’t help me sleep better, tracking my sleep holds me accountable and keeps me mindful that I need to prioritize my sleep (and recovery). It’s like seeing yellow or red on your training peaks calendar, or uploading a half completed TR workout to Strava. It hurts!
Apologies to resurrect/derail, but this is sort of linked…
I’ve been sleeping badly for about 3 weeks having started TR about 8 weeks ago. It sort of correlates with when fatigue started to catch up with my legs - I also got ill.
I’m a very light sleeper, but this is a prolonged period of poor sleep. I know there’s plenty of advice on sleep hygiene etc on the forum, but I’m curious whether this more intense training could be responsible, and whether things will naturally return to their normal state in time.
I know hard workouts can leave you pumped - but my TR workouts are mostly morning or early afternoon.
I have dealt with sometimes crippling sleep problems most of my adult life. 25 years in the infantry isn’t doing my sympathetic nervous system any favors at this point in my life, and as such, sleep is an elusive friend to me.
I can talk for hours about it, but one thing you said stuck with me,
“Adding a lot of sleep is difficult with my schedule”
This is the root of your problem. If your schedule is so jam-packed that you can’t fit in enough sleep, you are shortchanging your brain’s self-repair and indexing systems. Your brain is in “self-preservation mode” in those mornings when you can’t drag yourself out of bed as you stated.
You’ve got to take a good look at your sleep habits and make a real objective assessment as to whether you are taking proper care of yourself. If you’re not getting enough sleep for your brain to do what it needs to you are going to find diminishing returns in your training as well since the real magic happens during recovery, not during the breakdown.
I would strongly recommend you grab an app such as pillow or something similar and track your real sleep schedule for a week or two, then compare it with the National Institute of Mental Health’s recommendations.
I don’t mean to sound preachy, I’m no expert, I’m just a very experienced sleep amateur.
sleep is amazing, so get more if your life allows. one other thing, sometimes people start drinking 1-2 cups more coffee. finish TR, pat self on back with another cup. I’m all for it, BUT it can make waking up a B!TC#.
When I don’t drink alcohol for race season, i sometimes up the caffeine and it can be HARD to wake up!
All the comments about sleep are great, but something else to look at is your diet. I find that my sleep is impacted by the quality of food I eat during the day and the volume and timing in relation to going to bed. Also, improving diet to fuel your workouts and lose weight aren’t always the same thing. It’s especially harder as you get older and recovery gets more important. As I try to eek out every bit of marginal gain and manage my weight at a low level, I can suddenly find myself under fueled and exhausted if I’m not careful. If you are still trying to lose weight, be sure you aren’t “dieting on the bike” and are fueling the workouts and eating enough quality foods to recover. It’s a tightrope to balance both.