Ensuring we get the proper fuel to aid and support our bodies is one thing, but what about the simple act of sleeping? As athletes, both the amount and quality of sleep is vital for performance. During sleep important adaptations take place in the body, such as muscle repair and memory consolidation.
Unfortunately most of us struggle to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night, especially when travelling for important tours and races. This is problematic for several reasons. Essentially we become ‘functionally drunk’ with poor concentration, increased fatigue and a lowered glycogen storage. All of which impact negatively on our skill, performance and decision making.
So just like we eat to recover we need to sleep to recover as well. Fortunately there are many foods which naturally promote sleep. For example foods high in serotonin (a neurotransmitter which helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle), vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid. Below are some examples of foods which may help to calm the body and increase your serotonin levels for a good night’s rest.