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  1. #1
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    30+ mile ride = No Sleep. Advice?

    Weirdly, I've found that just about every night after I do a ~30-mile ride, I can't sleep; or I sleep very poorly. I'm flummoxed, flaberghasted... I've tried many things to fix this, including:

    1) Riding earlier in the day. This seems to help a little. However, usually I can't get out for a long ride until 2-3, which puts me finishing at ~6. I still can't settle into sleep by midnight.
    [Though starting a ride at ~9am seems like it would help, that schedule isn't realistic for me, so I'm looking for other options.]

    2) Recovery. I recover effectively, drinking juice/smoothie and getting high-quality protein w/i 30 minutes of ride finish.

    3) Yoga/meditation cool-down.

    4) Sex

    5) Beer

    6) Herbals, including kava, passionflower, chamomile, mint, etc. Chewing raw american ginseng root has helped somewhat.

    ...So, I'm assuming that I'm just doing something wrong, or I there's a blindspot I can't see around. Any advice?

  2. #2
    psycho cyclo addict
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    It's not all that uncommon...

    I too find that I do not sleep particularly well after long grueling rides (even races sometimes). Alcohol is a detriment to quality sleep so I'd avoid it. I can fall asleep no prob but wake up very early if I've been hittin the sauce.

    A couple of other suggestions:

    Stop consuming caffeinated food and drink before noon (maybe your shot blocks or other stuff you consume on long rides is juicing you up?).

    Cut down on sugar intake (you could be excessively exhausted and unable to get to sleep from a post-sugar crash maybe?).

    Drink a small glass of warm milk before going to bed.

    Try a low dose of melatonin (like 1-2 mg max or break 3mg in half)

  3. #3
    Oh, I've GOT bike money
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    I don't sleep well after really grueling rides either, especially rides later in the day and 3 or more hours. Nothing seems to fix it, so I just live with it. Sometimes I will fall asleep for an hour or two, but will then wake up. Almost feels like there is still adrenaline in my blood and my body still wants to get back out and hammer, or go fight a dragon or something.

  4. #4
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    Re-hydration with lots of electrolyte replacement is key for me.

  5. #5
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    Good advice above, try to avoid caffeine after noon and that should help a ton. Also don't go crazy with the post ride sugar. Ive found that if I skip the sugar in my post ride drink and just have some kind of protein I'm able to sleep much easier.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 4 Beta

  6. #6
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    I hear ye. Thanks for the advice.

    Yeah, this happens to a few of the guys I train/ride/race with, but not all; and there doesn't seem to be any sure correlations between what the sleepers do and sound sleep. So...

    Protein's good: Milk and good whey protein shook up.

    I definitely get plenty of rehydration + electrolytes. Juice, banana, salted almonds.

    Caffeine: I eat one pack of Bloks (100mg) during a ~30 mile ride (and usually a Clif bar; and brown rice syrup with salt in my water) so that may be doing something. Though, I often drink an espresso at 5pm before my road ride home from work, which is often followed by a 15 mile mtb ride (~3 times/week), with some longer rides.
    Then again, if I haven't had a snack, sometimes I eat a pack of Bloks over that 15 miler, which is usually finished 8:30; and I still have no problem sleeping by 10:30...

    For me, it seems to have to do with the overall exertion of ~30+ miles. (The quick beers afterwards obviously didn't help, either... went to a free concert.)

    Any other good sleepers with tips?

  7. #7
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    30+ mile ride = No Sleep. Advice?

    I've had good results with 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan).

    http://sleepjunkies.com/natural-remedies/5htp/

    I take 100mg twice per day, one capsule in the morning and then one in the evening before bed also.

    Some other things that I find helpful to sleep well is to have the room as dark as possible, thick curtains and no electrical lights visible (chargers, digital clock etc).

    Having some quiet background noise (eg: music on a sleep timer to shut off automatically after an hour or so) to drown out any noise from outside helps me too.

  8. #8
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    If you're not opposed to dairy, you could try casein protein powder with milk before bed.

  9. #9
    DLd
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    This might seem facetious, but it's not meant to be. Why not try upping the ride to 40 miles instead? If it doesn't work, no big deal, you weren't going to sleep anyway. If it does work then problem solved and you got in 33% more training! I'm figuring that maybe you're riding just far enough to be ready for more, so maybe going a bit further would be enough to put you into fatigued territory... It's also just a good excuse to get in a longer ride.
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  10. #10
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    I think it's probably the intensity of the ride. It takes 5 hrs for your body to cool down after a workout, which makes it difficult to sleep. Everyone I've talked to have said if they workout later in the day it takes them longer to fall asleep. I'd say other than the beer, you're doing things right. Beer hurts your recovery, and actually hurts your sleep. (The herbs may or may not be helping but they definitely won't hurt).

    One more thing to try is take colder showers after the workout. That'll help cool you down.

  11. #11
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    Thanks, folks. I've been talking to a nurse that works at a rehab/exercise science place, and I think I've figured it out, partially. Partially...

    Essentially, it seems that, depending on my body's shifting proclivities, and depending on the intensity of the trail, ~30 miles seems the threshold when I really start working (to put it dumbly). I've done 40, 50, up to 68-mile rides: same thing. My rookie explanation of what my nursefriend said is that my cortisol levels and metabolism/catabolism and testosterone is all bananas after that high-intensity endurance-ish stuff, so my body's just repairing itself, er, "doing its thing." Coming from a DH/Super D/gnar background, this is only my second year doing regular rides over 25 miles, so my body's likely learning how to cope.

    She said that the best things I can do to help it repair (and, likely, to be able to get to sleep) are:

    1) Replace sugars, electrolytes, protein. (Check.)
    And for the rest of the day after such a ride, she recommended drinking quarts of water with a tsp of salt and 2-3 tbsp of honey or maple syrup or molasses.

    2) Ride earlier, and take it easy afterward. (Yeah, I ride too late in the day...)

    3) Plan for 10 hours of sleep: Get in bed, dark, breathe, shut up. (I sleep in total dark, always have... But I rarely get more than 7 hours. A few weeks ago, I got about 9 two night in a row before a big training ride, and I massacred all my personal records on the trail. So, yeah: go to sleep, dumbass.)

    4) Don't drink (I don't always...)

    5) Try adaptogenic herbs: astragalus, ashwaganda, ginseng, holy basil... She mentioned these help, but aren't the prime movers. (I just got a bunch of these in bulk from the co-op, so we'll see.)

    I'll be doing a long haul again this weekend, so I'll test out at least a few of the above. But, like that quotable Kerouac said, "Walking on water wasn't built in a day."
    You'd think a good night's sleep was, though, right?

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