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  Last updated: 12/12/2009

Training, Cycling, and Sleep

The average person needs 8 to 8 1/2 hours of sleep a night, but 1/3 of Americans try to get by on 6 hours per night or less. To maximize your personal performance, attention to sleep as one element has its role.

When you are training, you will need more rest to recover. Instead of the 8 hours, 9 is probably better. It's that last hour or two when you go into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep that the mind really restores itself. Miss that time and your concentration and reaction time may suffer. One way to get there is to add 15 minutes of sleep a night until you wake up feeling totally refreshed. Then you'll be ready to give it your best.

What are the clues that you might be a little short of your personal sleep needs?

On the flip side, for those that have sleep problems, exercise can help you sleep more soundly, longer, and feel more awake during the day? But to be effective, it has to be the right type (cardiovascular not isometrics) and at the right time (at least 3 or 4 hours before bed).

Exercising vigorously right before bed or within about three hours of your bedtime can actually make it harder to fall asleep. It's often thought that a good workout before bed helps you feel more tired. In reality, vigorous exercise right before bed stimulates your heart, brain and muscles -- the opposite of what you want at bedtime. It also raises your body temperature right before bed. And as a decrease in body temperature appears to be a trigger that helps ease you into sleep, you should avoid that late night stint on the rollers or treadmill.

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Cycling Performance Tips
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