Sleep issues after VO2 Max work

Hey everybody. I’ve been struggling with some sleep related issues and I’m hoping someone out here has had similar experiences and successes. I train after work, typically getting on the bike at 6pm. All through SSB1 I really had zero issues. Now that I’m well into SSB2 I’m noticing I’m having a really hard time getting to sleep after VO2 Max work. Tonight I had a great workout, VO2 Max at 105% intensity (#humblebrag), and sure enough it looks like it’s going to be a sleepless night.
Has anyone had any success in dealing with something similar? My sleep hygiene, diet, stress, etc. are all pretty good, I think it’s just this damn cortisol I can’t deal with. Working out earlier in the day isn’t really viable with my schedule, so hoping there’s another remedy. Thanks everyone.


I was planning on posting the exact same thing, though for me its nearly always after the 75 minute Thursday evening workouts of the build stage.

The best I have managed to come up with so far is:

  1. Try and get to sleep early the night before and bank a couple of extra hours
  2. When I can’t sleep just accept it and try and stay as relaxed as possible. Don’t watch the clock and keep thinking ‘I’ve been awake for hours’.

I’ve tried hot milk, cool showers, reading before bed etc but nothing has worked yet. It sounds like you’ve listened to the Flo Podcast on sleep (though if not I recommend it) and agree with the cortisol theory.

Here’s hoping someone has something more useful to offer!


I take this every night 30min before I go to bed.

Due to the my work, I wake up 5AM every morning. Help me to recover and have 7-8 hours perfect sleep. And I wake more energized than ever.

Please talk to your doctor/nutritionist before you take it.

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Hi everyone. From what I’ve read your stress hormone, cortisol, is through the roof after a workout which is why you’re struggling to sleep. There’s no really good way around it.


i definitely get this too…

anecdotally one thing that does works for me is a way longer cool down …

it ‘feels’ like kind of letting the CNS reset … metabolically ramping down … 20-40mins gradually lowering intensity seems to have worked and made me sleep better the last few weeks post-VO2 session …

but it is quite n=1


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May be a sensitive subject but CBD drops help me get to bed. Promotes a calming and anxiety free mental state. Could be placebo but soreness/inflammation seems to be less overall as well. Results will vary from person to person.


i am sure @chad would be able to cite a study.

a former running coach of mine often talked about the higher the intensity of workouts the longer you need to ramp up for and ramp down , and in my own personal experience i do find it to be true …

that’ ramp’ can be mentally, muscularly and metabolically - or at least that’s how i interpret it.


VO2 Max work is usually fine for me, but I run into similar issues after long SST workouts. After doing 3x20’s (Eclipse) last Sunday after dinner, I was struggling to fall asleep until almost three hours later.

The underlying issue might be the same though; @Jayacher mentions the stress/cortisol response of the body.

I’m not sure there is anything other than doing those workouts earlier in the day. If there is, I’d love to hear it :slightly_smiling_face:

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I have similar time constraints as you describe - I often finish my rides around 8 PM and would like to be asleep by 10 PM as I’m up at 5:30 or 6 for work every day.

For me the key to a good night’s sleep is actually the food I’m eating post-ride more than the intensity of the ride. Definitely need to get a decent amount of post-ride calories in, but avoiding complex processed foods has helped me get to sleep pretty consistently.

My schedule last night was fairly typical and I was able to get to sleep fairly quickly.

Finish two hour ride at 7:45 PM
Cook and prepare food until 8 (salad, sweet potato, oatmeal - 900 calories of the 4k I needed to eat yesterday)
Eat by 8:15
Immediately start relaxing and calming my mind (varies for everyone - for me reading does this, but for others it is Netflix or whatever works for you)
9:30 prepare breakfast and lunch for the next day
In bed by 10

I found when I swapped things around and showered before eating, or tried to eat my total on bike calorie expenditure post-ride (by eating less earlier in the day) it was MUCH harder for me to sleep and I was up and down much more frequently throughout the entire night.

Thus my advice would be to eat less post ride and see if having less digestion going on helps


Having done TR and other high intensity workouts in the evenings…i’ve found that it also take me ages to get to sleepl…So I find myself working out at 6am and most of the time fasted apart from a black coffee whilst warming up. People will probably ask how you can train with that intensity and without food that early in the morning but tbh if you’ve eaten carbs at 7pm you should have more than enough fuel for a workout in the morning plus most races or events are in the morning…For consistency i did my ramp test at 6am and that sets the benchmark for the other workouts at that time…i’m finding that i’m losing a ton of weight but still have loads of energy for the workout and sleeping like a baby


My main issue is heat, I feel like I’m burning up. I have found that a smoothie (frozen blueberries, banada, ice) helps, drinking lots of cold water, cold shower, etc… The othe bother I get is that I feel my head and heart pounding and that keeps me from falling asleep, for that I use a fan for white noise to drown out the pounding (plus it helps with the cooling). And finally I spend some time stretching, yoga, etc to relax.


No joke - chamomile tea. I find it works pretty well for me.


As with other posters, I’ve had to do VO2 workouts after work in the evening and was still wide awake 3-4 hours after. Mentioned was high cortisol levels from HIIT sessions contributing to feeling wired-- perhaps give meditation a go (something as simple as laying in bed and focusing on your breath…in…out…); it could possibly reduce your cortisol levels by up to 20%.

As with everything, there’s no silver bullet, no single panacea. Work a bunch of stuff together and it should help.


Very common. In my last season, I didn’t do a lot of VO2 at all, but when my overall training stress would build up, and then particularly after long race-sim workouts, I’d struggle to find sleep. When my recovery days/weeks hit, I’d sleep better, and then I was out like a light during my taper… some of the best sleep I’ve ever had.

Working out earlier in the day would help your cortisol levels come down some before bed, which should help. Otherwise, taking a supplement like melatonin has helped me in the past.

Counter-intuitively, my sleep doctor told me to start going to bed later, that my body may not require as much sleep as I’m trying to give it. By going to bed later, and basically forcing it to get all the sleep it can in a slightly more limited time, he said my body would become more sleep efficient, making it easier for me to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. Admittedly, I’ve not really tried it yet because I just can’t wrap my head around less time in bed.

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I ended up jumping in a cold shower and opening the bedroom window, cooling down seemed to help a bit. I’ve not listended to that Podcast but I’m going to look it up. I’ve recently completed all the available Ask a Cycling Coach episodes so I’m needing something new anyway. Cheers.

Interesting, I didn’t realize there was a product marketed to address this specific issues, I’ll do some research. Thanks.

I might try this. I noticed last night that on Mills @chad didn’t give us our normal five minute warm down, I wonder if that intended to derive a certain adaptation. I’m willing to risk it, damn the adaptation if I have to go on two hours sleep!

I’d be willing to try this, I live in a legal state and am open minded. My first instinct says I don’t want to reduce inflamation as that’s what drives part of our hard sought adaptations, but I’m good to see if there’s any good literature on this. Thanks.

I struggled with this for a long time and after trying a lot of different things, I had to move my VO2 work to the morning to avoid having my sleep disrupted.

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A good wind down before bed. Low lighting, no screens and no rush.

Taurine too, which is actually a key ingredient in the NTR suggested above but it’s far cheaper to just buy from a bulk supplier and supplement.

I have found Taurine to suppress appetite, as have others but that doesn’t stop me eating :rofl:

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