SLEEP BETTER TO RIDE BETTER
Get better quality shut-eye, and you’ll recover faster
We don’t really mean that, of course, but try to leave a decent amount of time between finishing your training and hitting the hay. Exercise raises the body’s temperature, which lessens the amount of sleepinducing melatonin it produces. Four hours is said to be optimal, but busy lives mean evening training is a staple for many of us, so aim for a couple at least. Overtraining can have a similar and longer-lasting effect, so build recovery into your plan.
It hardly comes as a surprise that taking caffeine close to bedtime can disrupt sleep, but the drug actually stays in the body for eight-to-10 hours after ingestion, so even an afternoon coffee can have an impact on your night’s sleep. Going without an afternoon cuppa sounds a bit extreme, but definitely moderate your intake. Other stimulants to avoid before bedtime include the light from TV and smartphone screens and booze, which may make you drowsy initially but prevents you getting deep, restorative sleep later on.
A sleep-tracking app for your smartphone, such as Sleepbot, will help you keep on top of your sleep by monitoring your movements and noises during the night. You should then begin to learn the patterns of what brings you a good night’s sleep and what doesn’t, and find out how much sleep deficit you’re in. The app also features a smart alarm that wakes you gradually when you are in a light sleep phase, which should mean you wake up in a more rested state.