Eat, Sleep, Cycle, Repeat…Apologies to Fatboy Slim

Sleeping is essential for enjoyable cycling

The Lead Out

Sleep is an essential to the proper functioning of the body.  All the time you are awake you are using up energy, more so when you are active and riding a bike.  Your body needs time to repair itself and this is best done when the brain, muscles, and other vital organs are at rest.  Without sleep your body with fatigue and deteriorate both physically and mentally.

The Breakaway

Poor sleep or a lack of sleep is a recognised medical condition causing poor performance at work, memory difficulties, concentration problems and less resistance to illness, increased accident rates and drowsy driving as compared to good sleepers.  You can trick your body into thinking that sufficient sleep has been taken by having shorter sleep breaks consisting of full sleep cycles.

The Peloton

The stages of sleep combine for varying lengths of time.  Most complete cycles of sleep are about 90 minutes +/- 30 minutes according to the individual and the circumstances.  To maximise the benefits of your sleep in the shortest possible time you one or more complete sleep cycles, so should wake either when REM begins, or in the stage immediately following REM. If you wake in the middle of a cycle, especially during stages 3 or 4, your metabolic rate is at its lowest and it will take time to recover from this.  Its better to stay asleep, actively recuperating through the complete cycle rather than trying to take a shorter sleep break.

Stages of Sleep

Sleep stage Body Activity Depth of sleep Thought process Miscellaneous
0 –  awake Slows down, relaxes, decreased muscle tension Drowsy Relaxtion, mind wanders, vague awareness Decreasing heart rate. Decreasing blood pressure, Decreasing temperature
1 Body movements slowed, eyes gradually move less Light sleep, easily awakened Drifting thoughts, feeling of weight loss or floating Decreasing heart rate. Decreasing temperature
2 Little movement, eyes quiet, snoring is common Light to moderate sleep Thought fragments but memory process diminishes, if woken, may recall parts of a dream Decreasing heart rate. Decreasing temperature Metabolic rates. Decreasing Regular breathing
3 Eyes quiet, occasional muscle movement Deep sleep, may be difficult to wake Vaguely formed dreams, rarely recollected Continued decrease in heart rate, temperature. Secretion of growth hormone.
4 Eyes quiet, occasional muscle movement Deepest sleep, difficult to wake Very poor recall of sleeping thoughts Continued decrease in heart rate, temperature. Increased secretion of growth hormone. Regeneration process
REM Snoring usually ceases large muscles paralysed, fingers, toes and facial muscles twitch. Variable, but can be difficult to awaken if sound is incorporated into dream 80% dreaming with good recall Increasing heart rate, Increasing metabolic rate, Increasing blood pressure, Increasing blood flow to the brain, Increasing temperature, Irregular breathing, Best time to wake.