People in the habit of running are often faced with the dilemma of making a choice between providing your body that extra bit of rest it needs or cutting short your sleep to meet your running schedule. Though the passionate runner inside of you may consider choosing the latter, a good number of studies have proven that getting adequate rest will actually strengthen you in the long run.
Failing to achieve the required amount of sleep by the body can lead to additional stress to your body while running and may even increase the likeliness of being injured. We have therefore come up with a number of tips to help you make the right choice of keeping your health in mind.
#1 Setting up the Quantity
A good night’s sleep can only be achieved by getting a combination of the perfect quantity and quality of sleep that your body requires. Though requirements of sleep for every individual is different, a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep is recommended for most healthy adults. Making sure you have a quality mattress is essential in quality sleep. Remember the goal is quality and quantity, laying in bed awake or tossing and turning is not going to get you the reparative sleep you need.
The amount of running that you do may also affect the quantity of sleep your body needs to repair itself. Therefore, it is essential that you track your performance in accordance with the quantity of sleep you are getting to find the perfect balance. Avoid napping for more than a period of 30 minutes so that you do not have a problem falling asleep at night.
#2 Stick to a Schedule
If you are a runner you must already be aware of the importance of sticking to schedules and keeping track of your time. It is similarly essential that you try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to balance your running and sleep schedule. Plan your timings based on the amount of sleep you wish to achieve. Setting up alarms not only for waking up but also for reminding you to retire to bed is an effective way to help you adapt to the schedule, especially for beginners. This shall eventually become easy once your internal clock gets synchronized with the sleeping schedule.
#3 Maintain Proper Sleeping Environment
Maintaining a silent, dark, and cold bedroom is highly recommended as the lighting, noise level, and temperature play an important role in the quality of sleep you receive in the night. Stay clear of your phones, tablets, laptops, and other similar items that emit blue light at least one hour before going to sleep as it has been known to suppress the release of melatonin in your body. Sleeping in the open once in a while is also a great way to rejuvenate your body and restore your circadian rhythm. All you need is a set of equipment and a spirit for stargazing.
#4 Invest in a Good Mattress
Picking the correct mattress for your night sleep is almost as important as setting up your sleeping environment. Runners have often heard complaining about issues like back pain, lack of awareness, tiredness, etc. resulting from sleeping on a poor mattress. A number of budget mattresses that are breathable, comfortable, and easy on your pocket are available nowadays in the market which helps ensure you complete all the stages of your sleep and achieve REM sleep.
#5 Managing your Training Time
Just like your sleep, you should also set aside a schedule for your running practice. You must also be aware of certain things that you must follow before or after a practice session or a running event. It is very important that you do not train close to your bedtime as it may not allow your heart rate the time it needs to slow down gradually. Adjust your sleeping schedule according to the time of your practice so that you do not miss out on your REM sleep.
#6 Treating your Body after an Event
Having a good night’s sleep before the day of a crucial race or a marathon is almost a prerequisite. Similarly, it is equally important to know how to treat your body after such an event is over. Many runners like to treat their body with a short nap which is considered a good idea only if it spans no more than 30 to 40 minutes. You may also want to take a cold shower and hydrate yourself properly to help reduce the muscle swelling and facilitate its repair.
Almost all major athletes and trainers will agree that giving your body the right amount of sleep is as important as your training. The above-mentioned tips shall certainly help runners sleep better. Others facing sleep deprivation and insomnia can additionally try these steps out.