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Training & advice

Good sleep hygiene can help runners meet new personal bests

Runners have to do a lot to get in shape and stay that way, from training the right way to eating the best foods in the right quantities. What many runners don’t realise is that the amount of sleep - and the quality - of sleep we get makes a huge difference to the way we perform on the trails, track or in the gym.

What is sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is a catch-all term for the habits that we keep around sleep. Whether these habits are good or bad will make a huge difference to the quality of the sleep we get. When you have good habits, you should see an improvement in the quality and quantity of your sleep. If you keep habits that aren’t so good, you’re probably going to struggle to sleep well. 

How does good sleep hygiene affect athletes?

Getting a better nights sleep by using good sleep hygiene will do wonders for you as a runner in quite a few ways. 


While you sleep, your body is more likely to heal from the workouts you put it through. This is because your body uses the time while you sleep to rebuild your muscles. It also makes it harder for you to get injured while exercising because you are less likely to make risky decisions with your body. This is because you are going to have a much more positive - and accurate - perception of your abilities.

When you’re competing, most sports are all about the speedy responses. When you’re well-rested, you are much more likely to have faster responses to anything that comes at you. You are also going to have more energy to work with, giving you a better well to work with while you exercise.

How can you improve your sleep hygiene?

The good news is that the way to improve your sleep and your athletic ability is simple - just change your habits before bed. These three tips should be helpful for you, if that’s something you want to do. 

Turn down the Thermostat

The ideal temperature for your bedroom is between 15 and 17 degrees Celsius. It’s slightly cooler than you might want to be, but you’re going to be under blankets. You can help yourself get some great airflow by adding a fan to your room. Both of these will help you to sleep better.

Replace Your Mattress

What you sleep on is very important. You should be replacing your mattress, and that of every person in your family, every 6 to 10 years to make sure that it is giving you the right kind of support every night. 

Stick to a Bedtime Schedule

Last but not least, create a schedule for yourself. Get up and go to bed at the same time every night in order to build a routine around sleep that helps you to relax on a regular basis. Adding something like meditation or light exercise can help you to work out the last of your anxieties before bed.