Trouble sleeping

So I’m having real difficulties sleeping after long hard cycles. Today had a 100km ride at 0.91IF (Per Strava) and I will have severe difficulties sleeping tonight.

My Garmin watch is even telling me that I have low stress of 35 some 6 hours after finishing, normally I am between 8 & 16 in the evening.

Any suggestions as to what I can do to prevent this? Anyone else have this problem? What do you do?

Sounds like a rough ride, it sounds spiky with such a high IF for some long.

How long do you finish your ride before you sleep?

What’s your nutrition routine like after the ride, how much carbs and protein do you get in?

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Yes, it was pretty tough. I normally finish early afternoon (1330) and then sleep 2300 but today was a bit later. I rewarded myself with a decent steak and beer post ride. On the ride I probably had about 1500/1600 calories.

Sounds like your overtraining Symptoms of overtraining for cyclists – Struggle Events. The link suggests some ways to prevent it. I’ll occasionally suffer from the symptoms my self. :neutral_face:

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Ride easier. If that’s all to spec, 3 hours at 0.91 IF is very challenging.

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Do a long(er) cool down? I used to be a gym rat years ago, and could do a full set, come home, and crash like a baby. It seems harder as I’ve gotten older, but if I ‘do it right’, I can still wind down and sleep well. Other times I’ve missed it and never get to anything close to a deep sleep. Away rides always seem to be harder to manage for some reason, for me.

Yeah, over training seems like a good diagnosis. I wonder if doing a more extended cool down would help wipe it out.


Try not drinking the beer. What are you doing between 1330 and 2300?


Its just the one… I was loafing on the sofa :slight_smile: Normally I’d take my daughters swimming, which I would think would help ‘wind me down’

It sounds like I generally need to do shorter / lower intensity rides until I’m fitter, and try and do them earlier in the day.

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Think of it more as the variance from your typical daily energy expenditure

If you’re regularly training at X every day and then do 5X on Saturday your body is going to have a lot more to deal with and will likely struggle with calorie processing, recovery, any number of things

There’s a number of ways to improve your ability to do a ‘big’ weekend ride and then quickly recover, but viewing them through the lense above might help

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A number of factors are at play here. After a big ride, your sympathetic nervous system is pumped and you’re still in a high-cortisol “fight or flight” state. You may also believe to your core that you don’t sleep after big rides, and this association can be hard to break. You need to develop a little routine that will help you switch into “rest and relax” mode. For me this is:

  • Eat a lot, with plenty of protein. Turkey and a nice big portion of buttery mash. Take magnesium.
  • Spend a few moments reflecting gently on your ride, what did you enjoy? What could you improve? Slow down your brain.
  • Accept that tonight will be a “short night”. That’s ok. Fighting it will make it worse.
  • If you can, dedicate 20 minutes or half an hour after eating to stretching and/meditation. Just breathe, nice, big deep breaths through your nose. Listen to relaxing music and really wallow.
  • Don’t TRY to sleep. Curl up on the sofa with a good book or a nice soothing podcast that you enjoy and wait until you feel sleepy, and only then get into bed. If you don’t get into bed until 3 am, that’s ok. The last thing you want to do is be awake in bed - that creates a negative association it’s hard to break.
  • Keep a banana by the bed. Sometime I wake up at 3 or 4 am following a big ride, starving hungry despite a big meal, so having one nearby means you can have a quick healthy snack and turn right over and go back to sleep - no need to get up and turn lights on and go into the kitchen.

Some other supplements you can try:

10 drops of Valerian tincture in water before bed, or even better mixed into a chamomile tea.
5g creatine the morning after a “bad” night will mitigate cognitive blurriness - and the knowledge of this can be reassuring and help you not dread a bad night, which should relax you further.

Really the most effective thing for me has been the acceptance part. Yes, it’s rubbish to feel like you haven’t recovered at all and it’s frustrating that this then has a knock-on effect the next day. But, it’s done, try to separate your feelings about it from the events. In time this will lead you to feel more relaxed about it all generally.

In the summer, I make sure to have a long cold shower before bed as lowering body temperature can help lower cortisol and makes you actually want to “snuggle” in bed which is very comforting.

Good luck!


I think it’s just insisting that your body is recovering from the ride, it’s not something to be avoided. If you think the ride is too hard, choose an easier group to ride with.

Try to prep either side of the ride and for bed. Eat and drink after the ride, have your last meal of the day a few hours before bedtime. Go to bed fairly early and don’t worry about being restless or waking up. You’re still resting. :+1:

No beer!!! Let’s not get hasty…

But drinking right before bed is a recipe for sketchy sleep, at least for me. Depends on the beer, but yeah…

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I like to drink. But one beer (or other drink) screws up my sleep badly. I only drink if I know I’m going to have a rest day (or at least a very easy day) the next day. Even one beer. Each person is different, but I think OP should see if not drinking the one beer (and maybe instead focuses on lots of delicious food after the ride) makes a difference.


Or go NA. There are some pretty goon NA brews these days. :man_shrugging:t2:


I think most of the big ones have been covered, but a few little things that help me (I’m fairly temperamental sleep-wise after a harder effort);

  • Keep your room cool- I tend to run a bit ‘hotter’ after a relatively big effort and once that wakes me up I struggle to get back to sleep.
  • A bit of stretching or a walk in the evening can help if you get restless/achy legs, especially if you’re mostly sitting for the rest of the day.
  • Possibly more of an individual thing, but eating more frequently throughout the day seems to work better for me than 1-2 massive post-ride meals. Something like MFP can be useful to check if you’re eating enough as well- a bit under shouldn’t be a huge deal, but a massive deficit won’t do you any favours sleep-wise.
  • Some people seem to do better with a small snack/some protein before bed, others worse- can be worth experimenting with both.
  • Don’t lie awake feeling like crap for hours. Usually better to get up and read a book or something similar to take your mind off it until you feel tired again.

It is TOTALLY normal to have sleep disturbance after an effort that is well above what you can truly handle, especially if training load has been generally high for a long time without recovery days / weeks. IE, end of a training block, where you are riding the line of overreaching.

I like to go into these big days without a lot of residual fatigue, always plan in a rest day after, and ONLY do them when the next day I can afford to sleep as late as I want and don’t have to be up at a specific time for work or family stuff. If you are fresh enough you can sometimes get away with doing a massive ride and still sleep fine, but if you have a lot of residual fatigue or are riding that fine line between being overreached and making great power, you can easily set yourself up for a terrible night of sleep and anxiety.

Some people are much more susceptible to this than others as well. Folks that have a lot of neuromuscular power and/or anaerobic capacity seem to be in this camp. The riders with massive aerobic engines and low peak power seem to have less issues with this.

Nutrition wise, staying on top of fueling during the ride seems to help a lot. Keep those glycogen stores topped off, it pays off immensely on the recovery side. Whey protein post ride also helps speed the recovery process too.

I also do several deep breaths, and hold for 5 to 10 seconds, and if that doesn’t work, I will try to stretch myself out on the bed, just trying to inch myself ‘longer’, if that makes sense. Usually, I’m out like a that.

Personally too, I find if I have a large amount of caffeine past noon to 1-sh, depending on how much, I either can’t get to sleep, or can’t stay asleep, or seem to get to that deep sleep stage. Usually the next day I’m stoned from not getting enough of whatever I needed the night before. A noon-time nap often brings things back in focus, if I can get one in.

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This helps me a ton, i have a book at my bedside and if i pick it up instead of my phone I’ll be dozing off in 10 minutes.

Don’t ride so hard for 100km?

Seriously, that’s normal after particularly hard workouts and/or blocks of overreaching.

Negro Modello… beautiful light lager :wink: I don’t drink much, but Negro is really fantastic.

I think this is really it. I end up ‘wired’ wide awake and can’t wind down. Doesn’t help that my stress levels are very high at work at the moment as well. I should probably dial down either length or intensity for these rides especially when my stress levels are elevated such as now.

This is me exactly, much bigger sprint / anaerobic compared to my aerobic capabilities.

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