Probably one of those things that nobody thinks of too much in a training plan, but its entered my head more and more over the past couple of months.
Without going into too many details, I’ve been really suffering with my sleep, particularly the past few months. We have a bed that is so uncomfortable that I feel like I’ve done a triathlon when I wake up. Everywhere is achy and it takes me a while to get moving. Its a horrible feeling, and one that started making me not want to go to bed. I’d put it off as long as I could, go to bed when I was almost asleep stood up and just literally flop onto the bed. The problem then was if one of my youngest woke up in the night, then there was no way I was getting back off, and I’d end up coming downstairs, maybe grabbing another couple of hours on the settee but it wasn’t great. Most of these months I was getting by on between 3 and 6 hours a night, and I didn’t feel great for it. I’d still do my bits in the day, bit of training as well but I just didn’t feel great.
Why didn’t I change the bed? Or why did I buy it in the first place??!! The second one is easier, it felt comfy in the shop, we needed a bed so that was the one we got. Looking back, it was on a different base than the one we eventually put the new mattress on so this will have had an effect on it, but it feels like sleeping on a bag of rocks.
The problem is, you need sleep. Forget the idiot who bellows out he can get by on 3 hours a night. When you sleep your heart rate drops, your blood pressure drops and the body repairs and recovers from the previous day. This is the important thing for anyone involved in any sort of athletic pursuit. You have to have a sufficient amount of sleep to recover from your racing or training otherwise your performance will suffer. That is why in all the training plans that are about, there is a rest day included each week, and it should be taken. But sleep should be included as part of your training program.
So how am I doing now? I have a new mattress on the way so I’m still on the old sack of spuds. However, the shop we bought this from went through all sorts with us, from bases to pillows and spent a long time letting us try different beds out. It was actually an enjoyable experience, which for shopping, is saying something. In the end, while I’m waiting on the new mattress to turn up, they suggested I change pillows, and what a difference. Just by changing something that simple and relatively inexpensive, it has made a huge difference. The bed still ain’t great, and its going soon, but I now sleep better, and for longer and feel so much better for it.