Jason Kenny’s Pro-Approach to Sleep

4 min read

Last Modified 24 January 2022 First Added 14 April 2021

How important is a sleep regime when training or competing?

It’s a really important part of my routine. It’s obviously good for recovery, but also for general wellbeing, feeling good and feeling motivated. There’s nothing worse than getting up in the morning and feeling like you don’t want to go training because you’re tired. Sleep is really important to get that recovery in and hit every training session feeling 100%.


How does travel impact on your sleep routine?

It’s a challenge, particularly if you’re travelling through multiple time zones to the other side of the world. The most difficult trip is Asia, so it will be a challenge travelling to Tokyo. I find the best thing is to not really worry about it and just make sure you go to bed when it goes dark, get up when it’s light and stay disciplined. If you make a big deal of something it can play on your mind a bit – you overthink it. So, you just need to be sensible – go to bed at night and get up in the morning and your body kind of sorts the rest out.


Any tips for when travelling?

When I’m on a plane the only way I can fall asleep is to be really disciplined. I keep my weight evenly balanced, stay still and upright, then literally just sit there until I fall asleep. And don’t bother looking at your clock, just relax and eventually you’ll drift off.


Sleep is massively important.


Do you have set patterns before going to bed?

We normally have a pint of milk before we go to bed and that helps us to chill out.


How do find sleep (or a lack of) affects performance?

It might not affect outright performance, but it definitely affects recovery from that performance. It affects your mood and your motivation to go out and do it.


How does sleep help with injury recovery?

I think sleep is massively important. There’s no doubt that you get injured more and recovery is more difficult when you’re not sleeping. When you’re training, you’re often carrying little niggles and everything feels so much worse when you’ve not slept and been able to recover.


Do you nap?

No, I’m not a napper. I can’t sleep during the day which I think helps me get over jet lag quite quickly. Because I can’t nap, I tend to fall into time zones really quickly, but when the sun’s up, I don’t seem able to go to sleep.


Everything feels so much worse when you’ve not slept.


What keeps you awake at night?

The same as everyone else I imagine, bills you’ve got to pay, that sort of thing. You’re only human at the end of the day. You just have to put it to one side, relax and go to sleep.


Do you worry about or plan a race the night before?

No, I don’t worry about a race as such. I’ve done a lot now and I know that I can switch it on when I need to. I don’t really think about the race until we get there and start warming up; then we put ourselves into the zone really quickly. The night before I try not to think about it and carry on as normal really. Just do all the right things and keep my little bedtime routine going, get a good night’s sleep and worry about it in the morning.