When your body is at rest, muscles have a chance to repair themselves and gear up for their next big effort, making sleep very important for runners—especially when they're training for a marathon. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at it. I've suffered with bouts of insomnia for as long as I can remember, and my mom claims putting the 4-year-old me to bed was impossible. Today, I've got a few strategies and a countertop full of products that help me catch 40 winks a little more easily.
1. My bedtime is earlier than my Gramma's. (I'm not kidding—the woman out parties me every single night.) I hit the sack at 10:30pm, even if I'm not tired, to send a message to my brain that it's time to unwind. I'll read a book in bed if the Sandman doesn't immediately arrive, but absolutely no laptop or cell phone.
2. I wear a sleep mask. I've noticed I fall asleep faster in really dark places, and since my black-out blinds don't completely turn my bedroom into a cave, I slip this on to get the best shut eye possible.
3. I sip sleep aids. When it's chilly, I like to cozy up with a mug of Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time tea—it has soothing chamomile and other herbs. Since it's been warmer lately, I've been mixing up Nutrilite Restore, which has selenium to promote sleep and electrolytes to help rehydrate after a tough workout. Both beverages help me feel more serene, but they require a little planning. It takes about 40 minutes for your body to process liquid. Which means, if you drink something right before bed, you'll be getting up to use the bathroom in about an hour. When I miss that window, I'll take a shot of reBloom, an all-natural supplement with melatonin and valerian root that works like a charm. And since it's only 2.5 ounces, I don't have that pee problem.
4. There's always a fan blowing. Not only does it keep me cool (cold temps signal your body to slow down), the white noise helps block out the sounds of New York City.
5. I reach for a turkey sandwich. After an especially active brain night, when I just can't stop thinking long enough to pass out, I make sure to eat turkey. It's got tryptophan, an amino acid that triggers the production of the key sleep hormone serotonin in your brain. The meal, combined with the sheer exhaustion of being up all night, helps me hit the hay fast.
Yawn. I'm bringing this up now because I just noticed Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00am this coming Sunday. Which means, like it or not, we're all going to be waking up and hour before our bodies think we should be. As if getting out from under the covers and lacing up the sneakers isn't hard enough!
What helps you sleep at night?