Sleep quality and training load

Does anyone else see or experience a tendency for sleep quality to deteriorate as training load builds up? How much variability do people see in their need and ability to sleep in relation to their training (and life) load?

It seems counterintuitive that the ability to sleep would suffer as the need for it increases. I’ve found it to be quite frustrating, but at least have come to recognize it as a sign that I’m at or past what I can tolerate for training load - it’s like by not letting me sleep, that my body is forcing even more stress to demand a break.

I also experience the same deterioration of sleep, to an extent, when I shift into a recovery week - initially sleep well coming off hard training, but then after a few good nights rest it seems that the lack of acute fatigue prevents me from sleeping long or soundly enough.

Sorry if my strain of thought I’m on isn’t super clear, but it’s just been a point of interest that I haven’t had people relate or talk much about it with in person!

Definitely. Easy zone 2 work (Seiler zone 1) and I’m sleeping 7-8 hours, 1.5-3 hours of deep sleep, a high HRV and a sleeping HR in the low 40s. Do an intense mtb ride or hard interval session on the trainer and though I may get the same sleep pattern my HR often does not drop below 50 bpm, presumably due to energy being used for the recovery process and HRV drops a fair bit

I think my issues with sleep and training is a combination of duration and intensity. If I have fairly short workouts but intense I am not as affected as a very long easier ride. I am sure that is some repair that is going on that is needed but also causes some stress on the body in the short term that may affect sleep - I have notice that with twitching, cramping, and aching as I move. But one thing that does factor in is hydration. I know as tend toward more dehydrated my sleep suffers and all the good stuff - elevated HR, HRV, etc.

I have struggled with sleep for my whole life and it took me 40+ years to realize that I never was truly rested. This book I found to be very interesting read. It does not go into great detail on what we may want as an endurance athlete, but it has some good stories and a little bit on sleep on health and some sports teams using sleep for performance.

Best sleep book ever = Why we sleep (Matthew Walker)


Well i’m in this situation right now. Doing polarized based training and my sleep hygiene is good. Got 7+ hour sleep and waking up with a fresh body.

Currently doing a lot of sweetspot interval, and now i awoken every 4 hour with hungry stomach.

I think my body needs quite long time adjusting current training load.

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The hydration is a good point, particularly in the winter months when the air is drier and you lose more moisture by just breathing - which isn’t as perceptible as sweating.

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Certainly find the same with higher intensity sessions, particularly if they’re in the evening, making sleep less restful. I think it’s the body being more revved up rather than spooling down to recover.

So those acute cause and effect - but do you find within say a block of training that is primarily endurance/base focussed, limited intensity, that your ability to rest changes - for better or worse, as your chronic fatigue increases?

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@robertehall1 Agreed on “Why We Sleep”. I consider it a must read for everyone.

@bgkeen Thx for the suggestion, will definitely check out the book.

Try Casein protein mixed with milk before sleep. Slow release protein (and we might benefit from protein during night time recovery processes). You may find you don’t wake up hungry, even 8 hrs later!


Yes, absolutely, typically as my training load rises and I begin overreaching my sleep performance declines, my issues w/restless legs goes up, etc. I was just trying to complete a training block but with the training load and increased stress at work, sleep performance tanked and had to throw in the towel and jump into a rest week.