Ask the Coach – Wake Me Up!
Scott asks, “why is it so hard to get out of bed in the morning?”
Barring a larger health issue, there is, in general, one reason why getting out of bed is tough…. you are not getting enough sleep. Balancing work and family is usually hectic enough, so add in 6-12 hours of training each week and your body needs even more rest. However, since we are squeezing in more demands for our time with training, sleep is often something that goes first. But we need sleep, and if you are getting enough of it, you should find it a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning.
- Sleep is critical to the recovery process. While you sleep your body produces HGH (human growth hormone) and helps to repair the damage that your training has done to your body. We are constantly breaking down and rebuilding to get faster and stronger – but we need to have the rebuilding keep up with the breaking down or we are in for trouble. Lack of sleep can also increase the stress hormone cortisol.
Some suggestions for getting more sleep:
- Don’t do intense training before bed, as it will be more difficult to fall asleep.
- If you are sensitive to caffeine, avoid it (and other stimulants) in the afternoon and evening.
- Go to bed as close to the same time every day, even on the weekends and wake up around the same time. If you can, shoot for at least 8 hours of sleep, especially if your training load (volume and/or intensity is high).
- Stay hydrated. If you are dehydrated, you might feel sluggish, adding to the difficulty of getting out of bed.
- Make sure your bed and bedroom are comfortable!
- Do some light stretching (yoga) right before bed to help you relax.
I workout in the mornings before work almost every day, and with my busy schedule I don’t always get to bed as early as I’d like. I know that if I don’t get enough sleep, my workout and recovery from my previous workout will be compromised. Here’s the sequence of what I go through to determine if I really should stay in bed.
- When the alarm goes off, if I reach for the snooze and immediately go back into a deep sleep, chances are my body is demanding rest and I skip the workout. If I’m awake and then just have to take the next step of physically getting out of bed, I ask myself some questions:
- Am I really sore? If my body refuses to move much, then it might be a good idea to get the extra rest. If not, then I know I am ready to at least start my workout, keeping in mind that I can always make a hard workout easier, but I can’t make up a workout. My days are usually busy enough that if a morning workout is missed, it does not get pushed to later in the day.
- Can I visualize myself doing the workout? If I can see myself on my bike trainer or in the pool, that’s a good sign.
- If all systems are “go” and I’m physically and mentally ready to workout, then I just count to three and roll out of bed!
Coach Nicole is the author of The Triathlete’s Guide to Race Week. She is also the founder and head coach for NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness, a Colorado-based endurance sport coaching company. She is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and also coaches triathlon for Team In Training. Learn more at http://neoendurancesports.com/. You can contact Coach Nicole with your questions for the Ask the Coach column on facebook, twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.