I am happy to report that after last week‘s discussion about hydration I have been doing a really good job with my water intake. The past few days this is what my log has looked like – that’s some pretty good hydrating if I do say so myself.
I have noticed not only a positive affect on my running but also on my overall feeling of wellness. Its amazing what good water can do for the body!
One department that I am currently slacking in is sleep, and that will be the main focus of today’s post. In college I was really good about getting in 8 hours of sleep a night – in fact my roommate junior year and I would compete to see who could get the most sleep. Now looking back I think that is one of the reasons that we were the two fastest gals on our team.
Nowadays, my FitBit tells me that my average amount of sleep is 6 hours and 25 minutes. I am not okay with this!
So onto some questions about sleep…
Why is sleep important?
Just like rest days help your body recover from all the hard work you do on all the other day of the week, sleep helps your body (and mind) recover from daily life! The benefits of getting adequate sleep include lower stress levels, better focus, decreased muscular inflammation, and a healthier heart – all things that are really important for your running!
How does sleep/sleep deprivation affect my running?
If you aren’t sleeping your body isn’t recovering from your workouts and if you are recovering from your workouts how can you expect your body to perform well again and again? If you want to train and race to the best of your ability make sure you are getting enough sleep!
How much should I be sleeping each night?
There actually isn’t a set amount of sleep that everyone needs. According to the Sleep Foundation adults needs anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Experiment with what works for you, but I my motto is the more sleep the better!
What steps can I take to improve my sleeping habits?
Here’s just a few things that you can do to improve your sleeping habits…
- Have a pre-bedtime routine. It can be as simple as brushing your teeth and washing your face before you climb in bed or can include some herbal tea and a little bit of yoga but having a routine helps your body to start preparing for sleep.
- Set a bedtime for yourself. Having a set time that you go to bed helps ensure that you don’t stay up until all hours of the night watching TV or surfing the web. My worst nights of sleep always happen when I ignore my bedtime.
- Stay on a constant sleep schedule all week. It is best for your sleep if you keep a relatively constant sleep cycle all week. When you stay up late on weekends and sleep in until noon you throw yourself off your cycle and will feel tired the first few days of the work/school week.
- Keep electronics out of your bedroom. This means TVs, iPads, and cell phones (unless being used for an alarm clock). Watching TV or using any of these devices while in bed can interfere with the main reason you’re there – to SLEEP!
- Avoid caffeine after lunch. Caffeine can still affect your body long after you drink that coffee or tea. To get sounder sleep keep your caffeine intake in the mornings. 🙂
How do I know if I’m getting enough sleep or not?
The Huffington Post does a great job of pointing out some surprising signs that you may not be getting enough sleep…
- You are more hungry than normal
- You are overly emotional
- You are more forgetful or can’t focus
- You have a lingering cold that you can’t seem to shake
- You are clumsier than usual
- Your sex drive (or drive to do much of anything) drop
Keep an eye out for any signs of sleep deprivation and take actions if you suspect that you might need more sleep in your life! Sleep might just seem like the thing that you do when all your tasks are done for the day, but it should really be one of the tasks on your to do list that you check off every night!
Let’s all take a page out of Laci’s book and take naps during work! haha
There are 13 more weeks left in this fun series! I’d love to give you the information that you are craving – let me know which topic you’d like covered next!
- Mid-run Fueling
- Dynamic Warm-ups
- Core Stability
- Ice Baths/Hot Tubs
- Skips & Strides
- Marathon Preparations: The Week and Day of
- Carbo Loading: How To
Do you keep track of your sleep? What app do you use?
Tell me one step you are going to take to improve your sleeping habits!
I’m going to start shooting for a bedtime between 9 and 9:30 instead of 10. That could be a whole extra hour of sleep!