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May 5, 2011

Counting Sheep, But Running Out

Did you know that pro athletes typically sleep ten-to-twelve hours a day? By breaking this down into eight-to-ten hour nights with one or two daily naps, they grab enough rest to repair and recover essential juju to stay healthy. You may not be pro status or have time for naps, but the more training volume and intensity you do (e.g. Em's South Bay workout), the more rest you need. 
In a related Buzzle article Jacqueline Z states "according to a study recently performed at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory, a group of basketball players experienced less fatigue, increased concentration, and quicker reaction times (when adequately rested). A previous study also found that individuals who got less sleep also experienced impaired glucose metabolism, which negatively affects how the body stores and processes glucose, which in turn has a detrimental effect on their energy levels." 
So while basketball doesn't exactly translate into paddling a dragon boat, the concept still holds true for our performance in the latter.
Go to bed at a regular time everyday, including weekends and the nights before races.
As bedtime approaches, unwind slowly by reading,
going for a short walk, or engaging in light conversation.
Use a comfy bed and pillow.
Take a warm bath before heading in.
Drink non-caffeinated herbal tea to promote relaxation
Try to sleep only when feeling tired.
Progressively contract and relax your muscles to induce total-
body relaxation.
Also, avoid stimulants such as coffee, caffeinated tea, and cola in the last few hours before going to bed. Salt and refined sugar my even cause sleep problems for some. Although alcohol is a depressant that may help you fall asleep, it can also interfere with sleep patterns, causing you to wake early.

Besides herbal tea, other foods that may help induce sleep are turkey, tuna, cottage cheese, and milk, since they're high in sleep-inducing L-tryptophan. Avoid eating a large meal right before going to bed, but don't go to bed hungry.

Oh and if you're pre-tourney status, Coach Ceez says, "ABSTAIN!" (or did he? needs confirmation!)

Happy dreams Space Dragons!