Running and sleep: how sleep quality affects your runs

Running and sleep is an important topic.

photo of a woman hugging a blue pillow

Photo by bruce mars on

Sleep can benefit us all according to Runners tribe. Having a good night’s sleep can help repair muscle tissues and keep the weight down. As a result we run much better.

Last year alone I did not sleep so well in winter. I had a hard time trying to fall asleep and stay asleep. As runners we need about 7-8 hours of sleep.

Getting a good nights sleep helps regulate the appetite hormone.

In winter it gets really cold down here in Melbourne.

As such my running was not as good as it was in summer.  At that time my BPM was not more than 140 during my runs and long runs were getting harder. As a result, I had put on weight.

And the quality of my runs had diminished.

In Precision nutrition course we look at the relationship between running and good sleep and how having a good night’s sleep results in good runs. If you don’t sleep well and continually have this problem you’ll have trouble focusing on stuff that you meant to know. And you’ll be more injury prone.

According to, muscle grows in our sleep when we are in that deep restful mode. During a long hard workout, muscle tissue breaks down and you become sore and stiff. Hence this is why muscle would be lost if we do not sleep well all the time.

Sleep is essential for proper immune functions. Without it we would be more likely to get colds and other viruses.

Is one night of no sleep is ok?

It generally is, but try to have this once in a while. It is ok the night before the race as you are probably so nervous and excited to run.

Runners World says that you should track your sleeping hours online to see if there is a pattern or two. They talk about this sleep debt and that runners should not have such a bad sleep debt. If you do have bad sleep debt then an extra hour or two a week would not hurt.

What to do if you are constantly having a bad nights sleep

  • Keep to the same wake and sleep hours- too much sleep equaled by not enough can equate to insomnia.
  • Take magnesium to help calm the nerves
  • Keep your room nice and warm
  • Drink camomile tea
  • Don’t exercise so late at night
  • Keep caffeine to a minimum
  • Don’t eat large meals before bed
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol before bed as you’ll be up all night trying to get rid of it.
  • Turn off the phone before bed

Hope these tips help you to get a good nights sleep almost every night. And it ok to have that one night of no sleep occasionally.


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