As a road cyclist, getting enough rest is crucial to your performance. But did you know that the quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity?
If you’re not getting enough high-quality sleep, you’ll likely feel fatigued during rides and struggle to perform at your best. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.
1. Establish a regular sleep schedule.
One of the best ways to improve your sleep quality is to go to bed and wake up simultaneously each day, even on weekends. This may not be easy at first, but it will eventually become second nature and help to regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm. Your body will thank you for being consistent. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This will help to regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm and make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
2. Create a pre-sleep routine.
Just like establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a pre-sleep routine can help to improve your sleep quality. For example, this routine might include 30 minutes before bed with light reading or stretching.
The important thing is to do something calming that will help prepare your body and mind for sleep. If you do hard training sessions at night, it can be more difficult falling asleep. So instead, try to plan your workouts for the afternoon if possible.
On hot days, it can help to take a 5-minute ice-cold shower. This will accelerate the time before you fall asleep.
Remember that caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake and interfere with your sleep. Therefore, avoiding caffeine in the evening and especially before bed is essential. If you need to drink caffeine during the day, try to limit it to early in the day so that it doesn’t impact your sleep later on.
3. Keep electronics out of the bedroom.
The blue light emitted by electronic screens can suppress melatonin production and make it difficult to fall asleep. For this reason, it’s important to keep electronics out of the bedroom and avoid using them in the hours leading up to bedtime.
If you must use an electronic device before bed, consider wearing blue-light-blocking glasses or downloading a blue-light filter app for your phone or tablet (on newer smartphones and computers, you can turn blue light off at night).
Creating a relaxed, comfortable environment in your bedroom is also essential. This means keeping the temperature constant and ensuring minimal noise and light exposure in the room. In addition, creating an ideal sleeping environment will help you to fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.
4. Get some sunlight during the day.
Exposing yourself to natural sunlight during the day can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Aim to get at least 30-60 minutes of sunlight each day, either by going for a walk or bike ride outside or spending time in a sunlit room in your home. Exposure to daylight is the easiest and most logical way to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.
5. Practice some relaxation techniques.
Suppose you find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. In that case, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation may help you drift off more easily. Give them a try and see what works best for you!
By following these tips, you can help improve your sleep quality and feel better rested on and off the bike. Remember that consistency is vital — don’t give up if you don’t see results immediately. With time and patience, you’ll be getting high-quality sleep in no time.