In the back of all of our minds, we know that sleep is an important part of remaining healthy.
Sleep can also affect how you recover from training on your bike. Sleep allows your body to repair tissue from cycling exertion. So, what steps should you take to ensure you get the proper amount of sleep for cycling recovery?
Cultivate a Healthy Sleep Routine – this is easier said than done. Most of us are trying to fit our cycling in between a full-time job, family, and other obligations and interests. To cultivate a good routine, you need to plan. This includes planning when you’re going to sleep. Try to schedule a sleep time that is consistent every evening. It will help regulate your body’s internal clock and will become easier after a while. While the amount of sleep adults need varies from person to person, usually, 6-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is average. When preparing for bed, avoid stressful activities 1-2 hours before bedtime, and go through your nightly routine (brush your teeth, wash your face, etc.) an hour or less before you hit the hay.
Avoid Exercise Before Bed – this one should be a no brainer since exercise creates more adrenaline making your brain feel more awake. If you need to work out in the evenings, make sure you’ve completed it about 2 hours before you head to bed. An exception to this rule would be to do some gentle yoga stretching before bed. This is especially great if you’re feeling a little stiff and sore.
Steer Clear of the Blue Lights – this includes any technology screens. Studies have shown that the blue-wavelength lights disrupt our brain’s production of melatonin. Laptops, smartphones, and anything else that emits the blue light could be hindering your peaceful sleep regime.
Lessen Your Intake of Caffeine and Alcohol – both of these items keep you from sleeping well. While alcohol can help lots of people fall asleep, it doesn’t allow you to have a restful night of sleep. Alcohol disrupts your deep sleep cycles, so your tissues aren’t able to repair as well as if you were in a deep phase of sleep. Cutting back on the caffeine after 3 pm will allow you to get a more restful night of sleep and keep you from being groggy the next day.
While these items seem simple, they are important for you to be in the best condition for cycling. So, follow the steps above to ensure you get the proper amount of sleep for cycling recovery.