Sleep: An essential training technique

15th September 2015

A regular sleep routine is a fundamental part of any training schedule, and one that should be respected as much as your CV workouts, strength training, stretching and nutrition regime. In fact, scrimp on your sleep and you run the risk that you won’t get the results you deserve from the effort you put into all the other elements of your training routine.

So what’s the best way to optimise your sleep for maximum results with your fitness?

1. Prioritise and schedule sleep

Quality sleep, rest and recovery will not happen by accident. It’s important to know how much sleep you need and make a plan to get it. Don’t stress if life sometimes gets in the way of your ideal sleep routine, but aim to spend the majority of each week and month following a pattern that leaves you feeling refreshed rather than one that leaves you sapped of energy.

2. Identify the routine that works for you

The easiest way to isolate your best routine for sleep, training and maximising performance with everything you do is to keep a basic diary of your current sleep routine and note how this impacts positively or negatively on your effectiveness. Then highlight any areas where you think a shift in balance will lead to improved results and take prompt action. Review your routine regularly as it’s likely that your sleep routine will alter as the seasons change and as your personal, family, work and sporting commitments alter. Tune in to your individual rhythms to find the routine that gives you the best year-round results.

Sleep and training for winter events

Training for an event in winter – The Cancer Research London Winter Run for example – can be challenging. When the days are shorter it may feel harder to get out of bed early or train later in the day, and some of your outdoor training options may be limited by the weather. It can also feel like a struggle to work hard and get the best out of your training when the dark mornings or evenings are encouraging you to sleep. Be flexible with the timing of your outdoor options in the winter so you can adjust your plans to take advantage of daylight and better weather whenever possible, and have some indoor training sessions mapped out as part of your overall schedule. This way you can ensure you fit in all the training you’d like, while still benefiting from the all the winter sleep you need.

sleep-an essential training technique2

For further information on sleeping for optimum performance, send an email to to request their free fact sheet, Get Great Sleep.