Sleep loading prior to event

I have a question to experts and the community as a whole.

We all know that sufficient sleep is highly recommended, but i was wondering if anyone has tried proper “sleep loading” prior to their A-event.

I normally get 7-8 hours of sleep which should be sufficient, and I dont really feel tired out of the ordinary.
I was however wondering if anyone has tried superloading on sleep the week leading up to an event.

My thinking is that, as you would taper your training load, pay extra attention to diet, and possibly even carb-load. Would it be a good idea to try to bump my sleep up to 9 hours a night towards the A-race ( a 7-hour mountain triathlon).

My reason for doing it would be to facilitate extra recovery, and also become less vulnerable to undersleep in the last two days due to nerves and jitters.

Besides this i am taking my vitamins, iron supplement, eating healthy, tapering training load and doing priming workouts the last week.

Any ideas or experiences on sleep or other thing to remember in the last week.

Sounds like a great idea. I can certainly feel a difference in my workouts (power levels and RPE) if I get 9 hrs sleep the night before or 6-7 hrs. I always make sure I get a few really good night’s sleep for least 2-3 nights before an A race

Good idea if you can do it. In practice I find it can be hard to get extra sleep during taper as the reduced training load makes it harder for me to get to sleep and I tend to wake up earlier. I normally sleep 8 hours per night and can easily do 10 hours if I have the time, plus if I get time for a power nap in the day it has no impact on my night sleeping. During a taper I really struggle to sleep more than 8 hours though. And a nap can make it really hard to get to sleep later, have had to resort to melatonin, hot baths, warm milky drinks, etc to help get to sleep during tapers, and I still wake up 7-8 hours later.

The times when I have had loads of sleep in a taper are when I’ve been overdoing the training and/or underdoing the recovery during the last few big training weeks, in which case when I hit the taper the body can go into a bit of a shutdown and feels like I could sleep about 12-14 hours a day if I had nothing else going on. But this is more a case of paying off a sleep debt than building up a sleep credit!

Without watching the above again (posted in another sleep thread) I’m sure the presenter stated you can’t get sleep credit or pay off any sleep debt with extra sleep…


That matches my memory of the sleep discussion on the podcast in the recent past.

A deep dive on sleep and performance.

Don’t forget about naps during the day!

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I would really recommend the book by Dr. Matt Walker: Why We Sleep. I think that is where @Chad got some of his research for the podcast. At least, he echoed much of what is in the book.

I struggle greatly with sleep. Many people have their struggles, sleep is mine. I have tried many things in the past but gave up trying to improve my sleep. This book awakened the urgency to figure out how to get good sleep and why it is so important.

Most people don’t need greater than 8-9 hours of quality sleep. The trick is quality. Anything beyond those 9 hours isn’t often helpful and could eventually affect the circadian rhythm.

I would encourage a good amount of quality sleep prior to the event. Good sleep hygiene is most likely more effective than training. You won’t gain much fitness in the couple of weeks leading up to an event but you can severely wreck the fitness you have by getting bad sleep.

Good luck on the event and welcome to the TR forums!

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Thanks for your replies.

I agree with most of your views, and heard what coach Chad said about loading sleep, so on that part i agree, i cannot preload on sleep, to not sleep the last two days, outside not comming in with a deficit ofcourse.

However, it is my impression that sleeping is the ultimate form of recovery, so that increasing my sleep amount slightly will help my body recover even better from all the hard workouts leading up to the event.


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Being a person who likes his coffee but who is pretty strongly affected by caffeine, I find that engaging in a caffeine taper the week prior to an A event has the knock-on benefit of improving my sleep quantity and quality. I will reduce from my usual double shot cappuccino at breakfast, plus a large coffee at work to just a single shot per day for the week leading up.

When my caffeine intake falls, I can’t usually keep my eyes open after 9 p.m. and will sleep more soundly through the night. I’ll also skip alcohol entirely. I will still have the jitters the night before the race, but I will have an easier time falling asleep then too. On race day, I’ll go back to the full caffeine load and feel a little extra kick from the increase. Win win.