3 top tips to get a good night's sleep
If you're training after work, it will take time for your body to reach a restful state. You'll be tired but the chemical reaction caused by exercise means that you won't be able to hit the pillow and sleep immediately. Your body needs to wind down gradually.
1. Calm environment
It sounds obvious, but a calm, restful environment is essential for quality sleep. Invest in a blackout blind to produce the darkness that stimulates sleep hormones. Avoid energy drinks or caffeine after your run. And stay off your smartphone for 45 minutes before you go to sleep. This is the time for your brain to relax. An overload of information and artifical light won't help you reach a restful state.
2. Eat early, snack late
Timing your meals is very important, especially if you’re training after work. You want to go into your evening session well-fuelled after the working day. Ideally, you should eat a carbohydrate-heavy meal at lunchtime and then a top-up healthy snack late in the afternoon. Aim to eat 45 mins after your session so you allow 1 – 2 hrs before hitting the sack. If you struggle to eat after an evening session before bedtime, try to approach the evening session differently. Eat a small meal late afternoon (2 – 3 hrs before you run) and then a healthy snack after your session to refuel before you go to bed.
3. Avoid heavy, fatty foods
To refuel from your evening run, you need digestible, nutritious meal. Avoid heavy meals over-loaded with fatty foods as these take time to digest and will leave you bloated and uncomfortable. An ideal post-training evening meal could be a chicken/tuna salad with high-quality carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, new potatoes, buckwheat, couscous or quinoa.