Have you ever wondered why some people need more sleep than others? I wonder what causes this all the time. I’ve always said I could never be a doctor, or any profession that requires you to function on lack of sleep. Because I get nauseous if I get less than 7hrs two nights in a row. Seriously.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have LOVED sleep. When we got in the car, I was always asleep within minutes even if it was only a 20min drive to where we were going. To this day, I fall asleep in cars, planes, trains, anything moving (of course only when I’m the passenger ;)) I also do best on 9hrs of sleep. I know the daily recommended hours of sleep is 7-9hrs for the average adult, but I always wonder what makes me fall on the 9hr side vs. the 7hr side.
There are plenty of Ironman athletes who even during Ironman training only need 7hrs of sleep, or at least can function on 7hrs, or some even less. Athlete’s who are parents, executives, and have no time to take a nap after work, or on the weekends. It’s crazy to me. Although I do believe our bodies change to adapt to our circumstances. I wonder if my body will change once I have kids, etc.
But for now, I find myself sleeping 8-10hrs, sometimes 12hrs after BIG training weekends, and taking a nap every few days. I can exhaust myself usually for 2 or 3 days, and live off of caffeine, but because I don’t sleep well on caffeine, or rather not at all, and for some reason it stays in my body, or at least the effects of caffeine stay in my body for a loooong time, I usually crash REALLY hard. And then it will take me a whole week or so to recover for those few days.
How many hours of sleep do you need when you are Ironman training? How many hours when you are just being active? I’m fascinated how sleep is just like anything else, it’s completely individual and everyone’s needs are different.
I recently read this article on sleep, on the sleepfoundation.org site. It was really interesting.
I also read this article on how sleep effects athlete’s performance. Fascinating.
What do you think?