Can sleep deprivation prolong post-run recovery?

Can sleep deprivation prolong post-run recovery?

Written by Michelle Daniel, owner of The Lifestyle Technique, LLC


Many people boast about the little sleep they run on each day. For runners, not receiving an adequate amount of sleep, can hinder their post-run recovery. Why is this? During a long run or hard workout, your muscles break down on a cellular level. Getting adequate amounts of sleep allows the body to repair those cells, allowing you to recover quicker and stronger. Ultimately, allowing your performance to improve. If we continuously fall short of a good night’s sleep, our risk of having a running-related injury could increase.

How much sleep do long-distance runners need?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, most adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. However, if you are a runner in training, you may require more sleep. Just like athletes, runners need more caloric intake than most people when they are in training, they need more sleep too. If you are training for a half marathon or marathon race, your body may require 8 to 10 hours of sleep.

Here are my top 5 tips to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night:

  1. Unplug at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. Bright screens can stop your body from producing the hormones that help you fall asleep. Perhaps try reading a book, meditation, or breathwork.
  2. Create a regular bedtime routine. Begin getting ready for bed at a particular time each night. This helps your body begin to recognize its time to wind down.
  3. Create a quiet environment or try turning on a soothing sound machine.
  4. If your circadian rhythm is off and you wish you could go to sleep quicker, consider taking a low-dose melatonin (1mg-3mg). The Cleveland Clinic suggests starting at 1 mg and only increase a dosage by 1mg at a time if needed.
  5. Watch what you eat and drink before going to bed. Things we consume can cause a disruption in your sleep cycle (examples: sugar, alcohol, caffeine.

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