Sleep is very important for everyone, but especially the athlete. While you are sleeping your body is doing the most recovery.
I struggle with jetlag a lot. As a kid I could travel all around the world and change time zones and I could fall straight to sleep wherever I went. As I have gotten older and travelled more, my body has become more set in its ways. If I undertake a big time zone change now, I make sure I pop a couple of temazepan tablets for the first few nights to get my body clock on the right schedule. I’ve tried to adjust without tablets but I’ve just ended up staring at the ceiling for 8 hours and that’s not fun. It makes for a very long night! You should be able to get a script for temazepan from your local general practitioner and they’re pretty cheap. I don't suffer from any side effects and I feel much more rested.
I try to take a nap most days. If I don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes I tend to give up. I’m someone who falls asleep straight away so if I don’t, it’s just not going to happen. I tend to stay pretty sedentary most of the time between training anyway so even if I’m not napping, I’m generally off my feet. In Tyler Hamilton’s book, he says that if a cyclist is standing, they will try to sit. Then if they’re sitting, they will try and lie down. The cycling boys undertake such grueling training that they like to be off their feet as much as possible.
One thing that I never do is persist when I can’t fall asleep. I will get my phone and have a play on it, stalk some peoples Instagram’s, read something, make my eyes tired. Usually then I will fall straight to sleep.
I’ve struggled to sleep with altitude tents before. The pump that attaches the generator to the tent is pretty noisy and is annoying. Good wax ear plugs usually do the trick. One other problem I’ve had with sleeping with an altitude tent is that I was waking up in a sweat. I borrowed one last year and used it for a week but the ventilation was terrible and it was during the middle of the Australian summer so the tent was stankin’.
I’m actually struggling with a bit of jetlag right now! I’ve just touched down from Europe and am back in Australia. I didn’t have the best year running wise, but I learnt a great deal. I had a few highlights which included the Australian indoor 1500m record and a personal best time over 5000m. I was still the quickest Australian over 1500m in 2013, but hopefully I can learn from my mistakes in the past and start to enter the company of the world’s quickest. 2014 provides a good opportunity, so after a bit of downtime I look forward to having another crack and seeing where I can go.
All the best and I hope you can get a bit of shut eye tonight.
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