It is no secret that we all need rest to be more productive, but this fact is especially true for runners. While you are building up your endurance, your body is putting extra effort into adjusting to the new routine. When you sleep your body is doing work to repair muscles and recuperate from all of the work you did during your workout. So, one of the best things you can do to build your endurance and become a better runner is to get a good nights rest. You will run better, stay healthy, and feel better overall if you get a good nights rest. Here are some ways to get a good nights rest so you can achieve your running goals.
* Go to bed earlier – If you are going to be getting up earlier, then you will need to get to sleep earlier too. Most people in the United States get too little sleep at night. Experts suggest that you really do get around 8 hours of sleep at night. Some can get by with less and some need even more than that, but this is the average. I would not recommend trying to get by with less than 7 hours a night for an extended period of time. As a runner, your body needs more sleep than others because the body needs to recuperate and repair from running.
* Set the Mood – About an hour or two before bedtime, you should start setting the tone for bedtime. Turn out or dim some of the lights.
* Stay away from electronics and TV – I am sure there are studies to back this up, but I feel like using electronics before bedtime tends to keep you up at night. In particular, using electronics in the bed is the worst. Many people like to read on their laptop or iPad while they are lying in bed, but I caution you that these will keep you up later. If you need to read in the bed, pick up a book. Or, maybe you could read on a Kindle, as I have heard that these are not as bright as the iPad. Though be careful about how you lie in bed, because propping your head up on the pillow can be bad for your posture long term.
* Watch what you eat – Some foods can really not sit well with some, and they can keep you up late. If you have problems digesting certain foods such as dairy or acidic foods, then obviously watch the intake of these. In addition, avoid eating chocolate and sweets too close to bedtime, as these will keep you up as well. Of course, if you are running to lose weight, you probably should be trying to avoid these foods in general.
* Drink a hot cup of tea – Drinking a cup of chamomile or other non-caffeinated tea can be a great way to soothe you and get you settled in for the night. Grab a cup of tea and read a chapter of your favorite book, and you should be on your way to sleeping well.