Tossing And Turning: Runners And Sleeping Issues

Learn what you can do to get the right amount of sleep you need to recover and feel rested. 

Sleep. Almost all runners could use more of it, but very few are able to get the optimal number of hours they need every night. Running magazines and websites routinely publish articles on the importance of sleep, so it’s no surprise that runners understand the critical role sleep plays in the recovery process. Unfortunately, some runners simply can’t find the time to slumber 7 to 8 hours per night and still fit in everything else they need to do in a day. For these athletes, getting a full night’s sleep may end up low on the priority list even though they know it should rank high in order of importance.

About 40 million Americans — and by extension thousands of runners — suffer from chronic sleep issues. But what about the runners who understand the important role sleep plays in the recovery process, and diligently try to get in their 7 to 9 hours each night, but can’t because of sleeping disorders? Take for example Bobby Curtis or Tera Moody, elite runners who suffer from insomnia despite taking extreme measures to reverse the situation and get the sleep they need. What can runners like Curtis and Moody do to improve their sleep quality? And is it possible that running might be the cause of sleep-related issues?

VIDEO: The Importance Of Sleep

In the following pages we’ll examine four common, and often overlooked, sleep issues that affect runners and offer some helpful suggestions for those unfortunate athletes who suffer from sleeping trouble despite their sincere attempts to get the rest they know they need.

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