T Nation

Sleep and Training Hard?


I've noticed this for awhile now and I want to see if anybody has similar experiences.

I'm on the last week of a 6 week training cycle, it's actually a 14 week training cycle, but I broke it up into a 6 week block, 3 week block, 3 week block, with a deload week after each. Straight linear increment each week cycling rep ranges, so its just going to get harder.

This past week, I've had trouble sleeping. Either I can't fall asleep, or I do manage to fall asleep, but wake up ~2-3 hours later wide awake. It's not life stress as I have slim/none right now, caffeine/stimulant consumption has remained the same, and it's there even on rest days.

I'm thinking and pretty sure on this being a good indicator of over reaching and that a good amount of training stress has been imposed.

Do you notice sleep issues near the end of training cycles or after a couple weeks of solid PR sessions?


Yes. I have to take melatonin before I go to sleep after doing ME deadlifts.


interesting, im in the same spot, can only sleep for 2 hrs at a time. strange thing is that this month I have cut my volume and frequency way back


Training is the last place I would look to explain 'lack' of sleep. There is something else you have failed to consider.


How much time do you typically have between training and bedtime?

Is there a lot of ambient light in your bedroom? What about noise?

What and when is your last meal before bed?

Is your bedtime consistent? Do you sometimes stay up really late?


I've been training in the afternoons between 12 and 2. This has been constant for over a month.

I have blackout shades in my bedroom so no light, no electronic devices, and keep the air temperature very cool when I go to bed.

Usually, I'll eat maybe 2 hours before bed then have a shake w/ some fish oil right before bed. Sometimes, I'll end up eating my meal right before bed and skip the shake if I get off schedule.

My bed time is usually consistent, sometime between 11-12 then up at 7. This past week, I've been getting out of bed sometime between 9 and 10 AM due to not falling asleep. Last night I fell asleep around 10:00, then was awake at midnight and couldn't fall asleep for a few hours.


I find that if I let myself sleep in late because I had trouble getting to sleep the previous night then my body resets its body clock for the later rise time. Sucks... But if I force myself to get up at the regular time even though I had trouble getting to sleep then I don't have trouble getting to sleep the next night.

That being said... When my training gets intense I get a generalized 'amped' thing going on. I think it might be some kind of over-reaching, yup. Can be maintained for maybe 2 weeks, but then I need to tone it back or suffer injury and / or some kind of immune system sickness.


Damn, I sleep like a baby after a PR.


People always lean towards overtraining, but unless you feel like shit during the day, arent eating enough, taking too many stimulants, or doing an absurd amount of volume (and usually heavy weight with that) then I doubt it.

Have you had any major diet changes? increased/decreased appetite?

Last summer I decided to gain a ton of weight (was 150, so needed to) and was eating too much protein too fast. I felt like shit, couldn't sleep and hated eating more than usual. Call it placebo or not but I bought some betaine HCl and everything was perfect, and I within 2 weeks I felt great.

If it's your diet maybe do a small 1 week cut and let your body rest. I think my diet affected my body more negatively than when I was overtraining and sleep deprived (in college and stupid about training.)

Hopefully you can figure it out. Think about any major changes as of late and you probably found the problem.



you were the first person to mention that.


No big diet changes. I've been eating moderately, more crap then I'm used to, but my diet isn't as steady in terms of constant caloric/macro input per day, as it has been in the past. I try to make up for it by eating bigger meals in the evening if I have a busier day.

I have no joint pain or anything else physical outside of just normal DOMS.

I never said overtraining, just overreaching, and we'll see what happens over this week as I'll deload my squat/pulls and see if the situation improves. I woke up at least 4 times last night, but had no trouble falling back asleep.

The program I've been doing, I would say is volume based and is a large change in volume per week as to what I was doing previously. I started light but for the past 6 weeks I've been cycling (reps/sets) 9x3, 7x4, 5x5, 3x6, for squat doing 2 workouts a week. Every 2 weeks, the cycle has repeated with +20lbs. Afterwards, I do pulls for whatever I feel like doing just to hopefully maintain them.

Bodyweight has been holding relatively steady, but I do look slightly leaner. I also have not been doing any prowler or conditioning work, which I was doing before maybe 1 to 2 times a week.

Before I doing a bastardized conjugate method scheme, where day 1 squats were maybe 1 heavy set of 1-5, then some lighter down sets, then the other day maybe 16-24 reps with speed poundages. I was pulling much heavier then though.

Bench training has remained approximately the same.

If the situation does improve, my philosophy on deloads may change to only do them when I experience these sleep issues. If I setup my training cycles correctly, I should be able to predict when it is going to happen.


My sleep abnormalities have coincided with a large cut in volume

for 8 months I squatted to a max and did doubles with 85-90%of that for as many 6 days a week
benched 3 days a week with the same set up and did a typical speed dead workout 2-3 days a wk

for the last month(first week i took 5 days off) I have cut back to squatting twice a week
9one session attempting a rep pr the other doing volume with 85-95% of my max) same with bench, using a really basic dead program 1xweekly

last night I went to bed at midnight and woke up at 4 couldn't go back to sleep, strange


Maybe something to do with change in seasons and it staying light later?

I have been getting a lot more natural sunlight than I have previously due to being outside more.


I have noticed high volume makes me hungrier and go to sleep real easily at night.


No, but there is a natural break in the sleep pattern in the middle of the night.


When I wake up in the middle of the night, I just go do something and within an hour or two I'll be tired again and go back to sleep. It's natural.


I get this all the time. It's a sign to me that my body is adapting to a new level of stress.
When training is going well with lots of PRs I don't really sleep that well and wake up really early in the morning.
When training is going shit I always sleep like a baby, getting 10-11 hours a night.
Insomnia is one of "the diseases of adaptation" according to Hans Selye.