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Thread: Sleepiness???

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    Sleepiness???

    On the past two long rides, both 200+ milers I've had the same experience that has been really strange especially given the time of day.

    Since I'm averaging a 17 mph pace I'm doing the ride in one day. I've been getting plenty of sleep overnight but come around 12-2PM, I all of a sudden find myself getting sleepy. It's been rather unnerving, especially back on Monday. I found my eyes really wanting to close on one me. The temps have generally only been in the 70s when I've been doing the rides. Both times toward the end of the ride I have popped out of it a couple of hours before I get home. In fact on Monday at the end of the 225 miles I felt like I could do 300 without trying. I just would have needed a headlight. Granted my knees were starting to feel it and so were the thighs. I pressed way too hard in the beginning of the ride and I was paying for it quite nicely.

    The only thing I can think of that might cause an effect like it would be digestion. Under the circumstances I wouldn't think that would be causing the problem so I'm just trying to see if any of you have had the experience and what else might be causing it.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1. Were you getting enough sleep? I find I go through the same thing when I get my "normal" 6-7 hours of sleep on the 2-3 nights before a long ride. I seem to need more sleep than usual on the nights before a long ride.

    2. Did you have a big lunch?

    3. How was your food intake during the ride?

    4. How was your hydration?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    1. Were you getting enough sleep? I find I go through the same thing when I get my "normal" 6-7 hours of sleep on the 2-3 nights before a long ride. I seem to need more sleep than usual on the nights before a long ride.

    2. Did you have a big lunch?

    3. How was your food intake during the ride?

    4. How was your hydration?

    1. If I wasn't getting enough sleep in the nights leading into the ride wouldn't that cause me to continue to be sleepy all the way through to the end of the ride? That hasn't been the case, by a long shot. I have been getting the same sleep that I normally get before doing long rides. The only thing that has changed has been the season. Would warmer temps cause something like this? Then again I have to go back to what I wrote immediately above this, wouldn't it continue until the end of the ride?

    2. Definitely not. All I was eating through out the day was pretzels, raisin bran and fudge brownies with a banana tossed in once every couple of hours. Mostly trying to keep both the potassium and sodium levels up. It seemed to work quite well as I had no signs of dehydration for the first time in ages. Heck my skin stayed wet the whole ride, not normal for me in the past. I finished the ride feeling fantastic other than the legs were saying they had had enough for one day.

    3. I was constantly eating. Pretty much I always put the pretzels or raisin bran in my mouth and suck the salt away and then let the normal saliva juices take over and soften everything up before even chewing it. I do it to help the digestion process. I let the pretzels/raisin help with the sodium/potassium levels while I use the fudge brownies for the calories.

    4. I was drinking pretty much a liter of water every hour. I was taking the sodium concept one step further on this ride and tossing a 1/2 tsp of salt right into the water. I would typically drink most of the water bottle(20 ounce bottle...I would guess) on the road and then when I got to the next McDonalds I would fill it up and drink a full water bottle before filling it up again for the road with both water and salt.

    I have changed my breakfast routine in the past three long rides. Instead of eating oatmeal like I do/have did every morning for ages, now when I'm going out on a long ride(150+ miles) I eat a box of mac and cheese. Not only does it have the calories, it also is loaded with sodium. Pancakes are pretty much the same exact thing except I can do two things at once(getting last minute things prepped for the ride and fixing breakfast) at the same time when making mac and cheese while I really can't do it while making pancakes. I start the morning off with 600+ calories and 1800 mg of sodium before I leave home.

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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    I've had periods of drowsiness on long rides and I can almost always track it to one of the usual suspects:

    - dehydration
    - low blood sugar/glycogen
    - not taking an off bike break often enough

    The cure 99% of the time is stop and get off the bike, walk and stretch while eating a granola bar and downing 12 oz or so of water or diluted sport drink. Usually ready to go in 2-3 minutes and feeling awake after another 5-10 min of riding. I noticed that the last poster mentioned sodium a couple of times. While electrolytes are important, sodium is just one of four important electrolytes (the others being potassium, calcium, and magnesium) that must be kept in balance. There is no need to load up on electrolytes. Yes, you lose a small amount in sweat but if you are well nourished to start with and you consume normal foods like fig newtons, oatmeal raisin cookies or granola bars during your ride, you are very, very unlikely to develop hyponatremia (dangerously low sodium) during even an extended strenuous ride. Your body does an excellent job of maintaining electrolyte balance except under extreme circumstances. There is no need to seek out foods "loaded with sodium". Far more important to watch are hydration and carbs. Dehydration is prevented by drinking water, not by consuming excessive amounts of sodium.

    If anyone really wants to check this, have your blood drawn before and after a 100-mile ride. Even if you drank only sufficient amounts of water and ate a few handfuls of fig newtons, your serum potassium and sodium levels won't have changed very much and will most likely be well within the normal range, even if you were sweating like a draft horse through the entire ride.
    Last edited by Myosmith; 05-28-12 at 09:05 PM.
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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I've gotten sleepy in mid-day before. It was a warm day with a tailwind, very easy riding on flat land. (And coasting downhill can be bad, too.) Stop, do jumping jacks, take caffeine, take a nap, whatever it takes.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I've gotten sleepy in mid-day before. It was a warm day with a tailwind, very easy riding on flat land. (And coasting downhill can be bad, too.) Stop, do jumping jacks, take caffeine, take a nap, whatever it takes.
    Thinking back the last two rides, prior to the ride two days ago, I did have trouble when both of them turned flat and 'boring'. I never had the problem, that I can remember of when I use to live in Ohio and rode long distance but I'm having the problem now. The ride gets too darn boring and I want to fall asleep as a result of it. Who would have thunk. I didn't have any trouble on the ride I did on Sunday. Then again it didn't have any 'dead' spots in the ride. I figured it would but between stop lights and hills they kept the ride interesting.

    Over the past few rides since I have started adding sodium to the water, not sports drink...just plain water, that I drink I haven't been having the trouble I use to have with dehydration. My fluid intake hasn't changed any, but the results have. Most food doesn't give that much sodium compared to what you are needing to replace to keep up with what you are sweating and pissing out. It has to come from somewhere. With what I normally eat, prior to changing things around here a few weeks back, I was typically getting around 190 mg of sodium an hour. When you figure out how much I would be sweating/pissing away I'm leaving myself with a defecit(sp?) each and every hour. Now I'm not doing that and I'm not running into the same dehydration issues as a result. I'm still drinking the same liter every 1-1.5 hours like I have for ages now.

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    I was 12 km from the finish on a 400, and during the final big descent the need to sleep kicked in. It got a few looks at the finish control about my 10 minute nap, but better to be late than in a ditch with a broken bicycle.

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    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    If anyone really wants to check this, have your blood drawn before and after a 100-mile ride. Even if you drank only sufficient amounts of water and ate a few handfuls of fig newtons, your serum potassium and sodium levels won't have changed very much and will most likely be well within the normal range, even if you were sweating like a draft horse through the entire ride.
    Interesting! I wonder if these minerals (magnesium and calcium) might then be the most likely suspects for fatigue, including severe muscle fatigue or CRAMPS.

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