The not surprising benefits of sleeping whenever you can

By RV Merano | Photo by Jake Ingle/Unsplash

It’s true that we have our own personal lives to deal with apart from training for a race. Some of us juggle training and work—that is, training early in the morning and clocking out of work later than usual. Some of us still catch up with our social lives, going out on Friday nights or having a bottle or two with friends. And movie junkies/triathletes like me would try to squeeze in a swim, bike or run session before the last full show.

While we try to maintain our normal lives, remember that by doing this, we give up a few golden hours of sleep. It’s been proven that getting enough sleep is crucial to perform well. As athletes, we need to acknowledge the wear and tear of our bodies. Research has shown that sleep deprivation results in fatigue, stress, and lack of focus during training or the race itself.

However we can still lead a lifestyle separate from triathlon with proper scheduling. Here are some sleep tips that have worked for me while preparing for Bataan International Triathlon:

1. Set a constant time for sleeping and waking up

You want to go out after a hard day at work? Do it before your set sleeping time. If you’re scheduled to sleep at 10pm, leave your workstation by 5pm. Wake up at the same time every day. This way, your body gets used to the schedule and eventually, this becomes a habit.

2. Adopt your own relaxation technique

Personally, I have trouble sleeping because I think about things too much—failing a course at school, how to reach my 5K time trial target, what to cook for breakfast, etc. One technique that has worked for me is deep breathing. This relaxes my body and diverts my thoughts to one thing—sleeping soundly because I know I need it.

3. Drink a glass of water before bed

We don’t only hydrate when we do physical activities but also before going to bed. According to studies, our body loses fluids throughout a day of normal activity. When we go to sleep, there isn’t much activity, which is why it’s the perfect time to refill the fluids we lost.

4. Instagram, Facebook, or Walking Dead should do the trick

We scroll down our news feeds and update ourselves with what we’ve missed in our social lives and next thing we know, we’re asleep. It’s a good way to relax our busy minds and eventually travel down the wonderful world of sleep.

What works for me might not work for you but I am hoping you get juice out of these tips. Remember, feeling drained during training, or even on a day’s work, is the last thing we want. We aim to be at our best while preparing for the race and more so during the race. Give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve been pampering yourself with sleep. On the contrary, if you feel like you’re lacking a couple of hours of this brilliant rest period, it’s time to set those alarms and fill your bucket with some Zzzzzz’s.

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