“If all else fails, try taking melatonin 30 min before bedtime.”
by ALP Cycles Coaching
A lot of us use exercise to improve our sleep. However, for many of us, after a hard training ride, it can be tough to get a good night sleep.
Here are some tips to help ensure a better night sleep after a hard bike ride.
-Timing: Aim to do your workout earlier in the day. This is because when you finish a workout, the body takes a long time to calm down. Endorphins and other chemicals have been released to make you more alert and energetic. Your body is also slow to fully cool down and calm down after exercise, and until this happens, you will be fighting an uphill battle when trying to relax and sleep. In fact, exercise can cause your core temperature to be increased for four or five hours after working out.
-Caffeine: As cyclists, we all like coffee and caffeine. In fact caffeine can be a performance enhancer and help us torrid harder, longer. However, caffeine late in the day can be a sleep inhibitor. Caffeine can stay in your system for as long as 8 hrs, so aim to have your caffeine intake finished by 2pm. This includes recovery drinks. Many recovery drinks add caffeine or ingredients that contain caffeine.
-Electronic Devices: The blue light of electronic devices (TV’s, computers, phones, iPads, etc.) prevent the release of melatonin, a hormone associated with nighttime. Instead of watching TV or looking at a computer before bed, read a book or magazine to relax.
-Aches and Pain: Your body may be sore after a hard workout and your legs may ache. Wearing compression socks, foam rolling, stretching, etc., after a workout is recommended. However, you may still go to bed with aching legs. In this case, I recommend taking Ibuprofen. There are many theories on Ibuprofen, both good and bad, but my thought is if you aren’t sleeping due to aching legs, then you are not recovering. So it’s better to get rid of the aches and pains so you can sleep and recover.
-Hydration: Hydration plays a huge role in performance and recovery. Drinking enough water throughout the day, especially around exercise, can help regulate the sleep cycle. Dehydration can also lead to melatonin deficiency, which disturbs the sleep cycle.
If all else fails, try taking a melatonin 30 min before bedtime. I also like Valerian rood ant tart cherry juice (tip from Stacy Sims).
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ABOUT ALISON POWERS
Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).
About ALP Cycles Coaching
ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoaching.com