Ask any professional marathon trainer what one of the most vital components of their training schedule is, and the answer may surprise you. Sleep is revered by athletes and trainers alike who can recognize its’s importance in the recovery process for your body.
The strenuous effort of a run can actually put the body under duress, so you might find yourself wanting more sleep on harder effort days. Runners typically need more sleep than the average adult in order to recoup properly – this can fall anywhere between eight to ten hours.
So how do you ensure you’re having the sleep necessary to put your best foot forward (pun intended) when you’re out on the track? If you aren’t waking up feeling refreshed and energized, it’s possible you could optimize your sleep cycle further. This might be investing in the best mattress you can for your sleep position, or simply finding a sleep routine that works for you.
Here are our top tips and tricks for sleeping as a runner:
#1 Finding the best mattress you can for your sleep position
Pressure relief and bodily support should be at the forefront of any athlete’s mind when it comes to their night’s rest. The best mattress for runners, like the Lux Mattress from Puffy, should be able to balance both comfort and support so that they’re ultimately best prepared for the day’s training.
Memory foam mattresses tend to be a popular pick for runners precisely because of this versatility between comfort and support. Memory foam mattresses are the best mattress for partnered sleepers as well. Memory foam mattresses also have contouring capabilities that allow them to cater to a wide range of sleepers, which means if you sleep on your back and your partner sleeps on their side, you’ll both nevertheless experience an equally comfortable rest.
Perhaps most importantly, memory foam mattresses provide pressure-relief, which allows your muscles to focus solely on rebuilding and restoring themselves for use again the next day.
#2 Developing proper sleep hygiene
Most of us have poor sleep hygiene practices to begin with. Your sleep hygiene plays a significant role in the quality and quantity of sleep you’re having every night, so it’s worth paying special attention to.
Building better sleep hygiene begins with habits that can be tough to break. Keeping your phone away a few hours before you go to sleep every night is going to be vital to ensure you’re not disturbing the natural melatonin production in your body.
You’ll also want to develop a nightly ritual that your body can begin to associate with sleep. This could be a nightly cup of herbal tea, or a hot shower right before you tuck yourself in. These habits won’t just help encourage your sleep, but will actually allow you to form a practice that trains your body to prepare appropriately for rest.
#3 Other sleep accessories that might be able to help you out
If you’re convinced you already have the best mattress you can for your sleep style, but you’re struggling to clock in your daily eight hours, there are other sleep accessories on the market that can help.
Adjustable bed frames are a popular choice for runners or athletes who are looking for a more custom position during the nighttime, one you can’t achieve with a memory foam mattress alone. These bed frames often come with pre-set positions that are able to maximize pressure relief from the body, while also optimizing the quality of your rest.
Adjustable bed frames don’t just turn your memory foam mattress into an experience that is a little short of magical, they have other features that can also really help with you getting an adequate amount of rest, and faster.
This includes massage zones, soft lighting that can come in handy especially on those early morning training days, and charging ports that ensure you’re never missing the alarm on your phone.
Other sleep accessories might also help combat a lack of sleep. Weighted blankets are another increasingly popular tool used by those who struggle with sleep to be able to get to bed quicker.
Weighted blankets work by using something called gentle pressure stimulation to evenly distribute weight across the body, allowing it to feel secure and comforted enough to get into a state of relaxation.
Like memory foam mattresses, they work on any type of sleeper- just ensure you’re getting the right weight, about 10% of your body weight, to get the magic started. Even an older bed will feel like the best mattress with the help of a weighted blanket.
#4 Keeping your bedroom a place of rest
Your bedroom should be the one place in your home you can reliably look to if you’re seeking rest, and an escape from the daily stress of routine life. However, this can be harder to achieve if you live in a smaller space, and you begin to work, do your warm-ups, unwind and sleep all in one room.
Keeping your bedroom a place for you, your memory foam mattress, and your sleep can really change the way your sleep cycles look for the better. Try to find an alternate space in the house you don’t mind getting active in, and keep the distinction between your workspace and rest space completely clear.
If you are feeling strangely alert through the night, or you can’t figure out why you simply can’t relax in your bedroom, try this out and see what a difference it might make to your sleep.
Running is about two things – endurance, and discipline. Understanding that good sleep is built on both means you already have a leg up on people who struggle with a lack of sleep in being able to achieve the rest you need to perform stronger than you ever have.
Once you’re confident you’ve found the top rated mattress for your back and have gotten into a sleep routine that is healthy and consistent, you’ll find yourself beating your best times quicker than you would’ve imagined possible.