Pic from Lava Magazine Article Serious Recovery: Why Triathletes Need More Sleep.
Although many great athletes can barely sleep the night before a race, getting a decent night of sleep before a race is a nice advantage. 2 of my strongest attributes as an athlete are my ability to eat like a pig (on the bike & run) and sleep like a baby before a race. My gluttony and sloth are my virtues!
Here’s how I fall asleep before a race:
1. I study my race plan on race week then don’t think about it the day before the race
2. DO NOT THINK ABOUT THE RACE! Especially after 3 pm. But don’t OVERLY STRESS about not thinking about the race. (meditate on that…)
3. Only one cup of coffee in the AM- just enough to ward off the shakes no caffeine later in the day
4. Focus on all the stupid logistics: mixing drinks, laying out clothes, double checking my lists. Maybe it’s just my personality, but this stuff bores me to death and makes me feel sleepy.
5. Make the room cool & dark early. Close the blinds, use minimum light. Even wear dark sunglasses.
6. Eating a big meal, while not necessarily optimal nutrition-wise, knocks me out.
7. No TV.
8. Read something BORING. Any continuing education reading you need to get through for work?
9. Ear plugs: I use these every night. (eye mask as well).
10. White noise android app: in case the hotel is noisy, this + ear plugs should be able to drown out just about anything.
11. RELAX: there are certain things you should do the day before the race (eating, staying off your feet, final workouts) but don’t stress about them. In fact, if you spend all day worrying about doing things right, the stress is probably doing you more harm than doing all the other right things is helping you. Almost all my very best races have been in races where I didn’t stress out about details going into the race. All my worst races have come when I’ve been stressed out about doing everything perfectly. Enjoy yourself!
12. Sleep Reverse Psychology. Instead of telling myself “relax and fall asleep” I say to myself in my most drowsy mental voice “I … just … want … to … stay … awake … a … little … longer. But… it’s … so … hard. Maybe … I’ll … just … let … myself… doze … off … for … a … little … bit. … but… I … want.. to … stay … awake…”