T Nation

Sleep & Competitions

Any thoughts on competing after taking either sleep drugs like Unisom or something like Hydrocodone the night before? When I travel for sports competitions I have the hardest time sleeping and will tend to only sleep for an hour or two each night.

Benadryl and Z12 don’t get the job done for me. Next time I’m going to have to try one of the afore mentioned or maybe something else (any suggestions?) because this can’t go on or I’m going to have to quit traveling all together. Really, I’d like to be going to more competitions not quitting.

Howdy, OE.

You’re going to need to find something that works for you. Some people do well on a quarter bar of Xanax and a glass of wine, others needs Ambien or Rozerem. Whatever you do, try the drugs well before your competition to find out how they affect you.

As an aside, you may be going about this the wrong way. Instead of trying to fall asleep, you may want to look at drugs that will keep you up the day of your event such as Modafinil. Again, try this well before your tournament.

I had a script for Modafinil for 6 months and stopped taking it because I didn’t care for it.

The night before a competition, especially if I’m traveling, I’ll often take ZMA, sleep-eze (same active ingredient as Unisom) and melatonin. Take ZMA regularly, the sleepeze and melatonin more on an as-needed basis, sometimes they can make me a little groggy in the morning. The caveat is that I’m a weightlifter, and in one of the heavier weight classes so I generally don’t even have to weigh-in until mid-afternoonish, so being a little groggy in the morning isn’t a deal breaker for me. Never tried anything else so can’t comment on their relative efficacy.

I try to compete how I trained. I usually train sleep deprived, so it is no issue to compete that way. If you are gonna go this route, I suggest a few test runs on training days first to see what happens.

You dont want to put any chemicals in your body as they take several hours (or sometimes days) to fully leave. Do you really want a muscle relaxant in your body when you compete? I say dont worry about it.

I don’t want to tae anything but I’ve got to get some sleep. Residual effects of some drug has to be better than going days without sleep.

Jonty, it sounds like you’ve had the same trouble getting sleep when on the road for competitions?

I’m sorry to make light of this, but I can’t get over the idea that you’re just a little nervous before HELLTRACK!

But for real, are you traveling alone? That can be tough. Sometimes, you need your team to keep you loose.

I dunno, man. the day after taking valium I find I’m much slower than normal. It’s like it takes a little longer for the move signals to travel from brain to limb.

If you do decide to go down this route try and get a drug with the shortest half life you can

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Are these ping pong tourneys?

Nervous? I think it’s obvious I’m On Edge!
Hey, how did you know it was track anyway?

Two years ago It was a baseball tournament. I went with my brother but had my own room. Last year I went to the same track meet which I just got back from but don’t didn’t have trouble sleeping. I brought my family this year & last to the track meets.

I kind of think it’s less about who I’m with and more about how it goes the first night. At the baseball tourney, first night I was all cozy in bed and getting sleepy so I decided to set the alarm and go nighty night. Oops, no alarm clock in the piece of shit Palm Springs motel. Okay, call the front desk for a wake up call. Nope, the MFers don’t answer. I don’t have anything to set for myself and I don’t want to wake up my brother if he’s already asleep so I got paranoid that I’d over-sleep. Yes I can get highly strung at times.

On this recent trip, the track meet is held in the same town my parents live so we stayed with them. Me, my wife and my daughter slept (at least they did) out in my Mom’s art studio. I slept on an airbed that got a little too cold because the first night I didn’t have enough covers on top of the bed so I got cold from the bottom. Mostly the problem though was that I had to get up about every hour to take a piss. I have no idea why, I didn’t drink all that much. I think once I have trouble the first night it gets into my head and I become a basket case.

By the way, Pangloss, the track meet is part of games conglomerate called Huntsman World Games. They have everything from Archery to Zebra riding. Last year, in addition to doing track, I did do ping pong because my dad helps run it and he wanted me to do it. I didn’t have trouble sleeping that year though. This year no ping pong because I wanted to focus my effort on track.

Helltrack was the super tough final race from an 80’s movie about BMX racing.

This is just speculation, but what about a Practice Trip? You didn’t get worked up about ping pong, because, who cares about table tennis?

You care about track, so you get a little worked up on your trip. Then the issues related to travel spiral into huge anxiety traps.

What if you signed up for a 5k, or something not super serious, in your parent’s town? You could “practice” and learn that you need an alarm clock and an extra blanket. If you eat too much, or too little, or don’t stretch your calves and it effects your performance, so what? Now you know for next time. When you enter the real track meet.

Like a scrimmage in high school. Or duty weekend for the National Guard.

Oooh I love 80’s BMX. Here’s the bike my 9 year old rides:

It’s a '77/78. He’s confused by it. Last time we went to the track, after having to talk to about 8 different people, he finally asked me “why is my bike so cool?”

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Is that a Mongoose? Short frame?

It’s a Mongoose. I don’t know if it’s long or short, I would guess long.

My first real BMX bike!

I swear those bikes were made to ride wheelies on for infinity and bunny hop car doors.