Rest and, more specifically, sleep is a basic pillar for any athlete. In fact, many experts consider sleep as important to the athletes as exercise itself.
Contrary to what one might think, during training there is no proper muscle development, this happens later, in the recovery period. During this recovery period, protein synthesis is higher in the most heavily loaded muscles. This means that the muscles most worked during training are those that will need the greatest recovery.
But more important than the hours of sleep, is the quality of it, so it is repairing. To help you with this, these are the supplements you should have in your bedtime:
5 HTP- 5-hydroxytryptophan is a compound derived from tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid, a precursor of serotonin and melatonin, both implicated in regulating sleep and mood. A low protein diet or consumption of alcohol, caffeine or aspartame contributes to inhibit absorption of this amino acid, thereby decreasing serotonin and melatonin levels.
Among the richest tryptophan foods are eggs, bananas, chocolate, nuts and dairy products. In many situations the dietary supply of this amino acid is not sufficient, so we advise you to take a supplement rich in this amino acid.
Melatonin - is one of the most commonly used sleep induction supplements. Produced by the pineal gland from serotonin and tryptophan, melatonin is responsible for regulating circadian sleep and wake cycles.
However, with advancing age, “disrespect” for light cycles (sun), stress… melatonin production decreases and in these cases supplementation before bedtime is indicated.
Melatonin supplementation reduces the time to fall asleep and increases the number of hours of sleep as well as attention and concentration during the day.
GABA- is an amino acid and neurotransmitter naturally produced by the body, also existing in supplement. Its action is the reduction of stress and anxiety and brain relaxing effect.
Thus, it helps in decision making and sleep, being a good alternative to benzodiazepines. In addition, GABA promotes increased release of growth hormone which, in addition to increasing muscle regeneration and muscle growth, assists in weight loss.
You can find these three components (5 http, Melatonin and GABA) at HGH by Rocksprint.
ZMA - Supplement consisting of Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine).
Many athletes ingest ZMA solely for the purpose of increasing testosterone levels, however, this supplement has the added benefit of improving sleep quality.
Magnesium has a relaxing effect and vitamin B6 enhances the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.
The amounts of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 vary from brand to brand, but 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium and 10 mg of vitamin B6 is a good dose of supplementation.
Do you have a question about the most suitable supplement for you? We help! Book an appointment now through our exclusive Sports Nutrition Counseling service. It is completely free. Schedule here.
By Joana Correia, Nutritionist