The TV is the one I’m convinced is the most egregious—for years I’ve blamed my insomnia on my husband’s addiction to Seinfeld reruns. But Breus admits his wife falls asleep every night with the TV on, and suggests I focus on changing behavior that is within my control.
It’s a leap for me, but letting that go allows me to discover that the some of the other bedtime rules the experts recommend actually work. For instance, now that I know the extent to which alcohol inhibits deep sleep, I limit my wine to dinner. Surprise—it helps.
And once I give the sleep monitors a chance, they point to maybe the most important change I need to make. In the end, the quality of my sleep is actually pretty good—I log plenty of time in the stages that are most restorative. But the amount of time I’m conked out usually comes in under the recommended seven hours. It’s clear I need to be more disciplined about getting to bed earlier.
That one’s not so easy, but I’m working on it, and now that I have a better handle on why I’m so chronically tired, I’m more determined than ever to make sleep a priority. You can, too. (Related: Can You Buy Sleep? )
Three ways to not lose sleep over your big event
Fake out anxiety
You may obsess about blowing a tire, but when you can’t settle down the night before an event, the fact that you’re not sleeping starts to keep you awake. Winter suggests a psychotherapy trick called paradoxical intention, in which you defuse anxiety by deliberately thinking about what’s causing it. “I ask myself, ‘How long can I relax here in bed with my eyes closed and not sleep?’” he says. “I never make it past five or 10 minutes.”
About 72 hours before your big day, adjust your schedule so it’s more closely aligned with the event’s, Winter says. If your ride starts in the morning, try to get in some early rides. Plus: What to Eat The Week Before Race Day
Sidestep jet lag
Not only does jet lag make you tired, it may also cause your body to rebel in other ways. “It can lead to nausea, loss of appetite, and other digestion problems,” Winter says. Not so great for bike riding. Try to give yourself five to seven days to adapt to the new time zone. If you can’t, research has found that exercise helps reset the body clock. So doing a short, easy workout when you get to your destination can ease your transition.