Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our health, recovery, and potential for performance. Stack a multi-day event on top of normal daily functions and its value increases exponentially.
You can imagine, then, how crucial it is to get consistently good sleep at the Tour de France. With stages typically ranging from 4-5hrs and start times of around 1pm, the riders will race well into the evening. Then, follow that up with a cool down, transit to the hotel, dinner, and more…they’re in for a late night.
So how do they manage to wind the body down and relax for a good night’s sleep? We have a few tricks of the trade from the best racers in the world.
You may wonder why the riders get back on their trainer after a monstrous stage, but it’s because they need to ease their body down into a more neutral state. This helps bring the nervous system back into balance and prep them for the transition to rest.
Additionally, most teams will utilize cooling devices and methods to drop core body temperature down. This also aids in returning to homeostasis and allowing the body to begin its healing process. On the heels of our new product announcement, the CoolMitt will be the next big thing with these teams and help riders easily cool their body from a scorching stage.
Post-race is also the time to begin rehydrating. Their bodies will be going through fluid at an insane rate and they’ll need sodium + electrolytes to take care of all those processes. This is where something like LMNT can be dialed: it is one of the cleanest, optimally-balanced electrolyte mixes out there!
The age-old bodywork still holds its place. Massage can be a really helpful tool to prepare the body for rest and aid in recovery. It does so by encouraging your blood to move fluid around, recycle it, and clean things up.
You might also be aware of compression boots. As we mentioned in this article, the NormaTec and Therabody boots are being utilized widely at the TdF. They’re a simple way to essentially get the benefits of a massage in their room, on the bus, or wherever they go. They’re even utilizing them before some stages to activate the body without any energy expenditure.
It’s impossible for these riders to keep up with caloric expenditure. While they’re always going to be trying to replenish carbs, it’s vital to stay on top of protein. They are breaking their bodies down day by day for three weeks and that requires a lot of nutritional support to ensure you don’t become catabolic (breaking down mass).
A good dose of protein before bed has shown to be a perfect remedy to avoid getting hungry at night in addition to aiding in recovery. Something like SwissRX Total Recovery is perfect because it is a full-spectrum recovery drink that targets necessary nutrients for healing a beaten body and provides that protein bump to help rebuild.
Getting hooked on hard-core sleeping aids is not ideal practice. However, the riders may use subtle supplements like melatonin to encourage their body to wind down. With stages running well into the evening, their circadian rhythm may need some assistance in settling into a routine.
We also love Momentous Elite Sleep because it provides a whole host of properties like melatonin, magnesium, anti-inflammatories, and amino acids. It’s like a recovery cocktail!
Lastly, you may want to skip the booze. It may go without saying, but alcohol is one of the few factors that almost always impacts sleep. You may feel that you fall asleep better, but the quality of sleep is lost. We won't see these athletes downing drinks, but a small post-stage win champagne celebration is pretty common.
Check out some of these recommended products, dial in your bedtime preparation, and get that beauty sleep.