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I don’t know about you but I never knew what sleep deprivation was until I became a parent. To be quite honest I don’t think I ever gave it much thought. If I missed out on sleep through socialising, or staying up late watching TV one night, I could make up for it the following with an earlier night.

But when you have kids there is no guarantee of EVER catching up.

Add to that the impact of marathon training on an already weary body, and all of a sudden protecting your sleep becomes as critical as drinking water, or having the right trainers.

Sleep is so so important for us runners, even if we are not marathon training because it is when our body goes into recovery mode, enabling us to repair and restore in advance of the following day’s activities.

Come on lets face it, what are the chances of you getting up for a cockadoodle doo run in the morning if you have only had 3 or 4 hours of sleep the night before? And after a long day at work on little sleep that evening track session is looking very unlikely too.

So how can we ensure we get enough sleep?

  • Make sleep a priority! Set yourself a target number of hours and work out what that means in terms of your schedule.
  • Try to go to bed and wake up close to the same time every day so it becomes routine.
  • Take a mid-day nap if you can. Just 30 minutes can boost your energy. I tend to have a 3pm nap which I call my daily pitstop and often get 30-45 minutes of extra sleep.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol. Both are linked to decreased sleep quality.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, cool, quiet and technology free.
  • Buy a new mattress , pillows if your current ones are not as great as they could be.

And on that last note, that is exactly what I did in advance of my last marathon. My bed was giving me all kinds of problems and the difference a new mattress made was remarkable…I actually looked forward to getting into bed each night and felt refreshed in the morning so those early runs didn’t feel like such a drag.

I asked the women in my online community about the importance of sleep.

Eleanor said, 

We got a new mattress earlier in the year and I’m definitely a bit less achey. 

Nina said,

I’m useless without proper rest/sleep. Then again, exercise improves my sleep quality.

Dianne Said,

A good nights sleep helps your training but I also find a good training session helps you sleep!

So are you getting enough sleep? Could more sleep, or even better quality sleep be the thing holding you back from seeing improvements in your running? Perhaps its time to invest in your sleep a little bit more hey?

This post is in conjunction with TEMPUR® but all thoughts are my own

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