Can’t sleep before the big race?

Should you be worried if you toss and turn all night before your A race?

Worried a bad night’s sleep will ruin your A race?  Worry no more!  All of us know the feeling.  You toss and turn the night before an important race you have been keying on for several months.   Whether it is the lack of white noise in an hotel room, your spouses snoring, other guests making noise in the hallway or just plain apprehension about race day, many of us have that awful feeling haunting us all night that our lack of sleep will negatively impact our performance.

Studies on the impact of sleep and performance have shown that strength, resistance to fatigue and oxygen demand while operating at a variety of speeds on a treadmill were not affected adversely by one night of poor sleep.  Furthermore, even though mental sharpness was shown to have declined somewhat, the markers of endurance performance remained relatively stable with even more than one night of poor sleep.

Even though an athlete is not phyiscally affected by a bad night’s sleep, they still feel like they are negatively affected so what can we do about it?  Our brain is telling us that we are sleep deprived and so naturally even though our legs are ready to go, we still believe that we will be slower and more skuggish on race morning.  So a little mental workout is necessary here!  Even though we may wake up thinking that we will not perform up to our potential come race morning, we can be assured that we will perform AS IF we had a good night’s sleep.  Replacing our negative thinking with positive thoughts and staying ‘mentally strong’ by realizing that our lack of sleep the night or two before the race or the fact that we have to rise at 0 dark thirty will not adversely affect our A race is something we can and should control.