Health Problem.

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Health Problem.

Postby Riverside » 9 Sep 2009, 6:16pm

A friend has an odd problem that I have not come across before in fifty years of cycling. He is doing a regular ride to work - a flat 26 miles out and back three times a week. After doing this regularly recently he finds that sleeping is very difficult with his mind racing and keeping him awake. When not cycling he doesn't have this problem.

He is 60- may have some blood pressure problems being looked at currently otherwise generally fit. (I used to get this once a year in the 1960s after the first track league meeting of the year - all that sudden whizzing round a banked track I guess.)

Anyone had a similar experience? I'm not looking a medical diagnosis obviously just anyone's thoughts.

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Re: Health Problem.

Postby TwoPlusTen » 9 Sep 2009, 9:37pm

Exercise will always raise your heart rate and get your blood flowing - and will also keep you awake. I do volleyball training 2x a week and that can keep me awake for some time.

26 miles each way is a fair amount - so let's say he finishes work at 5.30, he'd possibly get home about 7... if he goes to bed anytime before about 10.30-11pm his mind could still be turning.

Of course, then you start wondering why you can't get to sleep etc and that keeps you awake even longer... If he's worried about it, he could try seeing his doctor if there's some underlying cause.

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Re: Health Problem.

Postby reohn2 » 9 Sep 2009, 10:13pm

Is he sure its the cycling thats the cause?
Cycling only ever makes me tired and I sleep well as a result.
I agree though its a strange one :?
I cycle therefore I am.

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Re: Health Problem.

Postby gilesjuk » 9 Sep 2009, 10:35pm

Exercise that late in the day will cause sleep problems.

Melatonin is recommended by some.

Edit: Added UK link.

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Re: Health Problem.

Postby prm » 9 Sep 2009, 10:50pm

A remote possibility?? Would recommend having a prostrate/PSA blood test at 60, to rule out any problems in this area. Also, any medication recently prescribed?


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Re: Health Problem.

Postby Flinders » 10 Sep 2009, 9:26am

Cycling lowers my BP (I've been taking readings lately for another reason, and just after cycling both upper and lower readings are lower than at most other times) but perhaps he's going a lot faster and that makes a difference. It does seem a bit strange, hope it turns out that he's okay.

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Re: Health Problem.

Postby Colin63 » 10 Sep 2009, 9:48am

I think it's often easy to make causal links that aren't actually there. If he's cycling that amount and has generally good health I think it would be a good precaution to pop down to the GP's surgery and see what they say. There are so many things which can make our bodies behave in abnormal or unexpected ways. Go to an expert.

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Re: Health Problem.

Postby Andy_Brn » 10 Sep 2009, 6:01pm

I cycle to work and back every day, a round trip of 20 miles. This route takes me around 40 mins each way on my pannier'd up touring bike.

I also work shifts and find that cycling can play havoc with my already random sleep pattern.

My weekly shifts comprise of (2 x day shifts) (2x late shifts) (2x night shifts) (4 days off)

When I cycle back on a day shift which finishes at 4.30pm, I have no problems sleeping at all.

When I cycle back after a late shift which finishes at either midnight or 2am, or a nightshift which finishes at 8am; I find I have trouble sleeping.

I have always presumed it was due to heart rate and adrenalin increase.

If I have ever got a lift home in a car, I sleep like a baby after my late and night shifts.

Funnily enough, when I used to use a motorbike to go to work and back, I had the same result as cycling (ie trouble sleeping.)

This may back up up my theory of increased heart rate and adrenaline.

gilesjuk wrote:Exercise that late in the day will cause sleep problems.

Melatonin is recommended by some.

Edit: Added UK link.


Melatonin is used my a lot of night workers to aid sleeping, although I've never used it myself; so can't speak from personal experience.
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Re: Health Problem.

Postby dkmwt » 13 Sep 2009, 8:59am

I have the same sort of problem, as I only cycle 6.5 miles each way to work it's not a problem then. It's when I've been out for 50+, I asked the same sort of question on here and was pointed at SIS Nocte, it worked for me. Comes in Chocolate and Vanilla. If you try it you need to mix it in a blender at home or a shaker bottle if your on tour.
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Re: Health Problem.

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Sep 2009, 9:11am

For most of my working life I worked rotating shifts, generally with 4 quick-changeovers a month. (Finish at 2200, start again at 0600.) Particularly when I was younger, this could all be made worse by getting up to go to court. Sleeping properly can be very difficult, especially if you are subconsciously anticipating the chime of the alarm clock and you are worried about the consequences of sleeping in. All the problems of the day can also chase themselves about in your head.

FWIW, I always found that when I was able to travel by bike, getting to sleep an staying asleep was always much less of a problem; I usually found that by the time I had got a couple of hundred yards down the road going home, I had forgotten all about work.

I suppose everybody is different.

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Re: Health Problem.

Postby konaboy2275 » 16 Sep 2009, 11:06am

I have this when riding and doing jobs around the house, we've recently been decorating etc until late on and getting to sleep after has been impossible. I watched a programme on the tv about sleep a few months ago and it went through some good tips on getting off to sleep. The one that works best for me especially after exercise is to tense your muscles for 10-20 seconds starting at the feet and working up the body, if nothing else it takes your mind off other things and I am normally snoring away after a couple of minutes.

On a slightly related note, I have been trying to stop smoking and have been on the nicotine mints for a few months but find that after cycling my cravings for a cigarette are terible, anyone else heard of this?

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Re: Health Problem.

Postby Colin63 » 16 Sep 2009, 11:29am

The smoking issue is a difficult one. I smoked regularly until a couple of years ago when I stopped overnight. Within a very short while I felt much better and my cycling strength and stamina improved massively.

Last month I had a number of horribly traumatic events in my life. I was knocked for six and in a moment of weakness I took a cigarette. Since then I've started up again. I'm really angry about it. Yes I do get the need for a cigarette after a ride, though I can't explain it. I'll be stopping again very soon.

I found that the biggest aspects of stopping were a) the strength of that decision to stop, it had to be a strong decision about which there was no debate. Sometimes you simply have to wait for the right day for that decision to be made. b) getting to your first target which lets you believe that your will is bigger than the addiction (which it is! the physical cravings are very annoying, but they're not so bad that they'd overwhelm you if you had absolutely no way to have a cigarette, and the mental cravings are more associated with the fact that you know that you can get them if you want to). c) Not developing substitute behaviours like snacking which maintain the habits of smoking, and finally d) having some support

In fact if you want we could stop together and e-mail each other to say how we're getting on and give support if there's a struggle going on. drop me a pm if that's an idea you'd be interested in

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Re: Health Problem.

Postby Big T » 16 Sep 2009, 12:50pm

I don't find getting to sleep after a normal ride a problem, but if I ride an Evening 10 mile time trial or go out on the chain gang, then I do have trouble sleeping. I think this may have something to do with the amount of endorphins released.
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Re: Health Problem.

Postby james01 » 16 Sep 2009, 1:16pm

Colin63 wrote:I do get the need for a cigarette after a ride,

Post-exercise nicotine cravings are well-known. In the bad old days I remember half of the lads on our rugby team puffing away in the changing rooms after a hard game. Good luck with quitting, I stopped many years ago and still get a glow of (smug) satisfaction when I see some poor addict hunched in a doorway out in the rain!

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Re: Health Problem.

Postby PW » 17 Sep 2009, 12:46pm

I smoked a pipe for nearly 40 years, mainly strong tobaccos such as thin twist. When I packed up I used patches, with some gum as well for the first month. The local pharmacist worked me down the dosages. That was 3 years ago and I haven't had the cravings even once, though I still miss the pleasure of it when relaxing and probably always will.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!