Sleep is Valuable

Sleep is something I value a lot.  I don’t run well on less than 8 hours of sleep.  There are obvious cases that less sleep cannot be avoided but for me sleep is really important.  I rank getting enough rest in the top five most important factors for my personal happiness.  I don’t have any issues telling people I’m going to bed at X time or I need to leave because I’m tired.  We are grown adults and no one can “judge” you for doing what’s best for you.


There should never be judgment to begin with but often times there is an (unnecessary) pressure to stay out late and to hang out longer.  Like I said this is completely unnecessary.

I’m not a doctor.  There are plenty of reasons why sleep plays an important role in your life.  I’m not here to tell you why and googling “why is sleep important” can yield thousands of results.

I’m here to tell you when I don’t get enough sleep I’m a grouchy human being, I’m hungry all the time and I want to drink all the caffeine I can get my hands on.  This cycle normally leads to a crash, napping and then not being able to sleep the next day.

I used to not sleep well.  Often times I would find myself tired and not sleeping through the night.  I didn’t understand why.  I later realized I was doing a few things to sabotage my sleep as well as I needed a new mattress.

Here are some things I’ve started doing to help me sleep better (and in my PERSONAL experience, have found them to work well)

Turn off technology before going to bed.  I stopped going to bed with an internet glow.  I turned off technology and don’t sleep with my cell phone in the bedroom.

I stopped drinking full leaded coffee after 1pm.  I used to drink regular coffee until around 2-3 but found one (and actually usually noon) is the latest I’ll have coffee.

I now change my sheets, pillowcase and entire bed linens more than once a week.  I used to alternate every 2 weeks but have found that more is better.  This means an unnecessary amount of laundry but I like to think of it as an awkward quirk I have.

Have a bed time snack.  I normally like to have a glass of milk as well as some sort of small bed time snack.  I wake up hungry in the morning and I have found going to bed full causes me to fall asleep very quickly and soundly.

I don’t struggle with this frequently (but I know some people do), but establishing a similar sleep pattern.  I go to bed and wake up the same time weather I’m working or not.  I’ve found having a fairly similar sleep pattern keeps my body conditioned to actually follow it.  I don’t go to bed at 3am some nights and 9pm other nights.

These are just things that I have found that work for me.  Sleep is such an important and key factor in your life and running.

Some of my favorite articles about sleep:

How to Get Better Sleep as a Runner 

Sleeping will make you faster 

Question for you: What do you do to promote sleep?


31 responses

  1. I don’t prioritize sleep enough I know, and for the past 7 years being a mom I saw myself function on such smal amounts of sleep that I started to forget how much I need! I’m recognizing it now and making more of an effort but it’s still not enough.

  2. I also feel strongly about sleep being crucial for optimal health! My cell phone is always put away and I normally have a white noise machine or fan on just because sometimes I need noise to drown out the thoughts in my head. I’ve also found it helpful to stick to the same sleeping schedule 7 days a week (unless of course circumstances call for a change). Currently I sleep 9pm-6am and feel I function at my best! 🙂

    • Those have been about the same hours I strive for too. Honestly by the time 9pm rolls around I’m so exhausted it’s all I want to do!

      • Same here!! I feel like an old lady, but whatever lol. I don’t know what I’m gonna do starting this sunday the walking dead (basically one of the only shows I watch) starts its new season at 9pm….I think I need to write them a letter asking to change the show time till 8. LOL

  3. Sleep has always been my weakness, but I am doing my best to relax so I can fall asleep, and this week I am taking benadryl to ensure I do get enough as it knocks me out (and drowsiness is the side effect haha). I will check out those articles, I know if I got more sleep it would help a lot. Glad you wrote about this, it is especially important in the recovery stage. I was just telling steve last night that the 2 weeks before philly, I barely slept at all as I was so worried about my injury….no wonder it all came crashing down!

  4. I think the technology one is HUGE. Study after study has shown how it messes with your brain cycles, from the glowing screens to the search for content or gaming or whatever. Not saying I am good about it … my wife was bugging me about technology in bed before there was an internet 🙂 But I have made an effort to do book-based reading lately (also have a Kindle, doesn’t mess with your eyes/brain like a color LCD like a tablet/phone/laptop).

    Another one is hydration – very important for resting and starting the day off right.

  5. I’ve had the bed time of 9 pm since I was little. People always make fun of me. Changing the sheets it definitely a big one for me. Washing them with fabric softener.

  6. I’ve found it hard to sleep lately because I started doing a speedwork/tempo program and it meets at 6:30. Last week, it was hard to run bc that is usually my time to eat dinner and watch trashy TV. But, one thing I do to help me fall asleep is having a snack, a banana or peanut butter usually does the trick.

  7. No technology in the bedroom is a huge one for me. Or at least no computer, anyways. I still keep my cell phone in the room, which I should probably stop doing because I have a tendency to check it right as soon as I wake up, which probably means I get up earlier than I should.

  8. I am so much like you in this sense, sleep means a lot to me so when I know sleep will be sacrificed I make sure I make up for it somehow. I don’t even care if my early bedtime during the week makes me a grandma because I know I do best on at least 7 hours of sleep, so that means early to bed early to rise. It also makes it impossible for me to sleep in on the weekend… I am such an early riser at heart.I never thought about changing my sheets more frequently, I blame the stupid apartment laundry system. in my new one though I have one for free in my unit so HECK YES i may have to pick up doing something like that at least once a week. I am so bad about it…

  9. Agree! I really prioritize the amount of sleep I get because I really feel like I can’t function without it. I have a very hard time waking up super early (like 5 am) as well, no matter how much sleep I get. I have started wearing a sleep mask and ear plugs to bed to reduce the risk of something stupid waking me up at night, like the light on my phone flashing or my dog playing with his toy. I really make a conscious effort to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night, and the fact that I won’t be able to do that if we have kids is TERRIFYING.

    • I tried to wear a sleep mask once and I woke up terrified because it had fallen on my mouth. That’s actually a funny post for another day.

  10. If I didn’t have to travel to do laundry, I’d wash the sheets more often.

    Tea is my pre-bedtime ritual, though preferably an hour or an hour and a half before actually going to bed. It’s good because as I wait for the tea to steep, I tidy up the kitchen a little.

    Definitely the “older” I get, the more I value sleep, especially the busier I become. Unfortunately, I have cats, and they demand to be fed before my alarm clock rings.

    • To be honest, something I’m so glad we have in our house in laundry. I know I would struggle with washing my sheets and clothing in general if we didn’t. (See: college)

  11. One of the things that first hooked me to your blog was your mentioning of having no shame of going to bed at 9 p.m. 🙂 I have ALWAYS been that way. I can fall asleep easily (and yes, always early) but often times I wake up in the middle of the night and I can’t fall back asleep. My mind will be racing/stressing. I haven’t found a cure for this. Deep breaths or counting something (as corny and cliche as it sounds) helps. It is cyclical. I’m in a good cycle now! Definitely eating enough and good stuff throughout the day has yielded good sleeps.

  12. Changing bed sheets during the week is such a great idea. I wish I would take time to do that because it probably feels so refreshing. To get myself to sleep earlier, I just get in bed with a book and fall asleep so fast–no wonder I can’t finish books quickly anymore 😛

  13. I am a huge believer in sleep! I get 7-9 hours a night depending on the night but I really like more than 8. I even recently gave up coffee so that my sleep can be even better. I think sleep is so incredibly important to performing well and preventing injury! Keep up the sleep! (Now that I’m older I get way less pressure to stay out late but I hear you- people laugh when I say I’m in bed by 10 on a Friday!)

  14. I’m such a bad sleeper. It’s more like 6-7. I’m trying to get back to shutting tech off before bed but I like the sheet changing thing. More laundry but fresh sheets are the best anyways!

  15. I love to sleep and my body demands it’s 7-8 hours a night. I know a lot of people who almost brag about getting by on 4 pr 5 hours but I always wonder why that’s necessary? It’s almost like needing sleep is a sign of weakness in our culture. 😉 I’m with you though…I’m a much happier, higher functioning human being when I get my beauty sleep! 🙂

  16. Sleep is so important! I was sick for about two months at the beginning of the year because I was getting poor sleep and definitely less than 8 hours with my old work schedule. But now I get to sleep 8-9 hours a night and have the tiniest cold I’ve ever had in my entire life. I love it. Well, being sick isn’t fun, but being less sick than usual is great. I also feel terrible on less than 8 hours. I feel cold all the time like I have the flu when I’m really just sleep deprived.

  17. I jokingly say I live for sleep, but it’s not really a joke. I sleep 7-8 hours during the week and 9-10 on weekends. My body just needs lots of sleep and I won’t apologize for it.
    I eat all the carbs and just can’t function at all, even if I get one night of bad sleep. Thankfully, those rarely happen for me and I’m a pretty good sleeper and I love it.

  18. Sleep is HUGELY important to me – and I do a lot to promote it. I won’t drink caffeine after noon, I don’t nap, I wake up at normal times in the weekend… And this is whether I’m running or not. I’m am a less fun/smart version of me when I don’t sleep.

  19. i love my sleep as well and am usually the one leaving early or not going to get sleep. I am crabby and do not function well without. I usually read before bed. I also have to take a shower a night, and have a small snack otherwise I can’t sleep

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