Sleep is one of the most important elements in any training program and it is often the first to let go. Sleep can easily become compromised with a busy work life and trying to get in that extra workout each day. However, it can be just as an important role in your training as lifting or running.
Love the video above it simply talks about the importance of sleep. As a friend said to me the other day, and I love this analogy, your body is a bank. You are constantly making deposits into this bank through the workouts you do, the food you eat, and the rest you get. If you stop depositing enough of one of these things the whole system will be out of whack.
Many articles have been written about this subject, just do a google search and you can find thousands. Two which caught my attention were, Sleep And High Performance: What Olympic Athletes Know About Sleep and How to Sleep Like and Olympic Athlete.
I am currently reading a great book called The Hero Handbook, by Nate Green, one part of the book talks about sleep. The theme just keeps popping up in life. The book offers some great tips to getting a better nights sleep, all of which are simple adjustments to our normal evening programs.
- No Caffeinated Drinks after 4pm
- Two hours before you go to sleep do a brain dump. So you go to sleep with a clear mind. The book suggests physically taking out a piece of paper and writing everything down.
- One hour before bed turn off the noise, turn off the computer, the TV and other gadgets that distract you on a daily basis. Basically, let your brain begin to rest
- This step isn’t my favorite but here it is: Make yourself some tea, listen to soft music and read.
- Finally, and this one is the hardest at least for me. Turn OFF your cell phone and put it in another room to charge. Remove the item from where you sleep. Get a separate alarm clock for the morning and ditch the phone.
The most important thing is to begin looking at sleep as part of your training for it truly is part of your training. Most people think of it as something they can try to function on as little as possible but in reality we are only doing a disservice to ourselves not allowing us to perform at our optimum level. So go get the sleep you need and make sure you are putting all the deposits into your bank. If you do that race day you will be able to fire on all cylinders.