When the avid cyclist puts in some serious miles out on the road, the idea of crashing into bed is so appealing. The problem is that when you’ve been hitting it hard on the saddle, it can be difficult to wind the body down in order to get the right amount of quality sleep required for a full-body recovery. And this is where the power of CBD comes in; CBD products that are designed to improve sleep quality and, as a result, help cyclists to improve cycling performance.
But more on that later. First, a little background into the benefits of cycling…
Effect of cycling on sleep
You would think that intense exercise, like cycling, would immediately induce sleep, right? It’s logical to assume that a thoroughly exhausted body gives way to deep, uninterrupted, restorative sleep. But, in reality, it’s not actually the physical aspect of cycling that helps you to sleep better. It has more to do with routine and the brain. Let’s do into the details…
Cycling has a super positive effect on the brain, because it helps to reduce anxiety. If you didn’t already know, anxiety is one of the major causes of insomnia. Anyone who cycles regularly helps the brain to zone out, to find its calm place, to concentrate on nothing more than the cycle and the road ahead. It forces your brain to just relax, to forget, and to find the balance that anxiety destroys. Sleep apnea is another condition that prevents us from sleeping as we should and one of the main causes of sleep apnea is excess body weight. In general, cyclists are fit and lean. Weight stays down and sleep apnea is kept at bay.
But beyond the medical explanations, cyclists tend to have an extremely regular exercise routine, always getting up at around the same time, even on the weekends, to fit in a morning ride, and usually going to be at the same time too in order to wake up for the morning ride. The organization of a regular sleep schedule is something that experts believe contributes to improved sleep quality.
Do you really sleep well?
Having said all that, we know that many cyclists suffer from poor sleep and we’d like to bet that many cyclists think they sleep well, when actually they don’t. It’s common for people to think that 8 hours of sleep every night constitutes a good night’s sleep, but that is far from the case.
There are a number of sleep levels that we move through when we sleep and if we don’t spend enough time in each one, then we sleep 8 hours, but we don’t get 8 hours of quality sleep, which is something very different. Wake up feeling tired, even though you slept “well”? You’re suffering from a lack of quality sleep.
Why don’t you take this short quiz to find out what kind of sleeper you are? The results might actually surprise you.
We have no doubt that you can cycle well when tired or whether you sleep 8 hours or not. We all learn how to just keep going. It’s one of our skills as human beings. But make no mistake that a lack of quality sleep does affect your cycling performance. If you’re already an awesome cyclist, imagine how incredible you really could be if you made sure that your sleep every night was 100% quality sleep. You’d be off the charts!
Sleep and cycling performance
The amygdala is the area of the brain that controls emotions. It’s an area that becomes up to 60% more active than normal when we’re sleep deprived. We become more emotionally charged and we react impulsively to negative situations. These emotions don’t just affect your cycling performance, but they can be dangerous when moving at speed.
Lack of quality sleep also translates into a reduced level of stored glucose, which is the main source of energy for endurance athletes, including cyclists. Poor sleep means less glucose and less energy for ‘long’ rides, typically 90 minutes or more.
Love to take short, intense rides? You need to ensure you get quality sleep too. Why? Because on short cycle rides, your muscles are key. You need to be able to power them up quickly, to surge up challenging hills, for example, and when you don’t get enough quality sleep, your body is unable to build muscle. Again, we reiterate. If you’re getting 8 hours of sleep every night, that doesn’t mean you’re getting 8 hours of quality sleep. Poor muscle development means a higher chance of injury too. So, if you don’t want to be forced into time out of the saddle, you need to make sure the sleep you’re getting is quality sleep.
The 4 Stages of Sleep
There’s sleep, and then there’s sleep. It’s not all the same, which is why getting eight hours of sleep every night isn’t the only thing you need to keep a check on. If you’re getting your recommended eight hours, but still feel tired during the day, or never feel completely energized in the morning, you might be experiencing problems with the stages of your sleep, of which there are four. Check this out…
Sleep Stages Type of Sleep Normal Length
Stage 1 Non-REM N1 1-5 minutes
Stage 2 Non-REM N2 10-60 minutes
Stage 3 Non-REM N3 20-40 minutes
Stage 4 REM Sleep 10-60 minutes
The four stages of sleep form part of a cycle that we continuously experience throughout the night. On average, we pass through six cycles of the four sleep stages every time we sleep.
Briefly explained, N1 is the sleep stage when we’re drifting off and N2 is the sleep stage most people experience. It’s usually longer at the beginning of the night and shorter toward the end, but it’s not the sleep stage that we most need to truly recuperate.
N3, sometimes known as Slow-Wave Sleep (SWS), Delta Sleep, or Deep Sleep, is the sleep stage in which our bodies begin to relax and muscle tone, pulse, and breathing rate decrease. It’s a restorative sleep stage that helps us to recover, grow, bolster the immune system, increase insights, creativity and memory.
In stage four, also known as REM sleep, the brain is as active as it is when we’re awake and it’s thought that REM sleep is essential to the development of cognitive functions, like memory, learning, and creativity. REM sleep is also known for the most vivid dreams. While the first REM stage might only last for a few minutes, later REM cycles can last for an hour.
CBD and sleep
The use of CBD in the U.S., for a variety of reasons, continues to grow. Most people who turn to CBD do so because they’re looking for alternative solutions to pain relief and anxiety issues. Another large proportion of CBD consumers are looking to improve the quality of their sleep.
According to Medical News Today, there’s evidence to suggest that CBD can reduce cortisol levels and help people who suffer from insomnia get to sleep quicker. In another study, published in Permanente Journal, 72 adults with anxiety and poor sleep were involved. Assessments related to sleep patterns were completed at the start of the study and one month later as a follow-up.
The CBD product given to the participants was a 25mg CBD softgel, similar to the softgels we offer at GetEVOKE, and they were told to take one capsule in the evening, 20 minutes before bed. After the first month, 66% of participants reported improved sleep.
While conclusive results haven’t been confirmed by official authorities, the anecdotal evidence related to the benefits of CBD for those who have trouble sleeping continues to rise.
Level1500: our cinnamon-flavored Nighttime Tincture
If you’ve gotten this far in the blog, you probably suffer from poor sleep, or a lack of, and you’re probably open to the idea of trying something new.
Our Level1500 tincture is our most potent tincture, containing 1500mg of CBD. It’s cinnamon flavored, which is the perfect sweet aroma for nighttime use and it’s designed to support you in your path toward better sleep. During the month of August 2021, we’re offering a 35% discount on this product, giving you the perfect opportunity to try it.
Feel free to add 1 dropper of this oil to our tasty chocolate milk recipe, or simply drop the same dose under your tongue, 20 minutes before you want to sleep. Got a question, just reach out to us via our IG channel: @getevoke