Sleep is where the magic happens. It’s proven to decrease fatigue, increase energy, enhance focus at match time, AND accelerate post-match recovery time. Tryptophan is an amino acid that makes melatonin in the brain, which is secreted at night for a healthy sleep cycle. There are certain things you should and shouldn’t do to help get the best night’s sleep possible and in turn, perform optimally.
Sleep Promoting Foods to Eat
- Tart Cherries
- Gogi Berries
- Nuts (walnuts, peanuts, almonds)
Sleep Promoting Lifestyle Enhancements
- Make lists to keep you organized on match day so you don’t forget anything.
- Before bed, breathe deeply, in through your nose and into your belly for 5 minutes to calm your mind and lower your heart rate.
- While breathing, visualize great match day performance.
- Avoid bright light in the evening (that includes the light from cellphones, laptops, etc.); it can inhibit melatonin production by sending alerting signals to the brain.
- Keep your room cool, at about 65°F. Body temperature is tied to your sleep cycle, so if you’re too hot it can interfere with that cycle causing restlessness.
Sleep Disrupting Foods to Avoid
- Caffeine (remains in your system for hours).
- Alcohol (disrupts later stages of sleep that promote memory and motor skills).
- Processed foods high in fat and sugar (causes indigestion and heartburn).
Tara Collingwood, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN
Trish Kellogg, MS, RDN, LDN