Categories: Health Training

Sleep and performance | Will Leer’s story

September 12, 2017

Will Leer is a professional middle-distance track athlete, a husband, and a proud dog dad. He is also someone who loves sleep. Leer says he’s a fan of getting steady shut-eye at night, and favors a post-run afternoon nap. So what’s his sleep strategy before a long run or big race? Read on to see how this Polar-sponsored athlete gets it all done – and manages nine hours of snoozing at night.

You’re married to fellow professional runner Aisha Praught Leer. Do you have similar sleep habits?

Will Leer: My wife loves her sleep. I also love my sleep. My sleep strength is falling asleep, but hers is staying asleep.

Leer trains with the Polar M430, which, along with the Polar A370, offers the Polar Sleep Plus feature.

So do you go to bed at the same time?

WL: Aiming for nine hours of sleep – like today, when we have a 15-mile run on tap for tomorrow – we start brushing our teeth at 9:40 pm, and we’re in bed by 9:45. That means I’m usually asleep by 9:46. Like I said, my strength is falling asleep! She usually takes another 30 to 45 minutes to wind down and eventually head into dream land.

You can track your sleep time and its quality with Polar Flow. Once you sync your device with the app, the data will show how much restful or restless sleep you got based on your movements and how often you changed positions in your sleep. If your nights are filled with restless sleep, try these tips for how to sleep better.

What about waking up?

WL: The night before a long run, we set our respective phone alarms: mine for 7 am, and Aisha’s for 7:15. But I’m usually up at 6:45. It’s par for the course for me to be awake before my alarm goes off. It’s always been that way. My internal clock just pops me awake. And rather than linger in bed and potentially experience the awfulness that is an iPhone alarm, I find it easier to just roll out of bed and let that momentum carry me to my single greatest addiction: coffee.

Sleep is important whether you’re a pro athlete or not. Here’s one expert’s take on why you should be striving for quality shut-eye every single night.

In the spotlight

Will Leer

Will Leer

Will Leer is a professional mid-distance track athlete. His personal records include 1:47.69 in the 800m, 3:34.26 in the 1500m, 7:39.38 in the 3000m, and 13:21.55 in the 5000m. In 2013, Leer won two USA Indoor Championship titles, including the mile (3:58.79) and the 3000m (8:07.84). He trains with the Polar M430 and the Polar V800.