Whether professional athletes or amateur athletes aspiring to enter the professional world, the occupation demands a lot from them. The athletes move on from one game to the next, spending long hours as part of the travel and take part in regular training to be in the game.This demands dedication and rigorous physical and mental fitness from them. All these activities result in sleep deprivation. In the old days athletes managed this issue by taking what it takes, for example, alcohol to medication and sometimes both.
However, in the current times, the professional athletes and sports persons are well aware of the negative impact of poor sleep. Though some athletes tend to use the older methods or over the counter drugs or herbal medications, on a broad basis a team approach is available to most of the athletes to manage sleep related issues. With advancements in sports nutrition and management, there are several options available which help athletes manage their sleep issues by administering more effective sleep aid.
Before going into any further details of Sleep Aid, it is very important for athletes, coaches and other training staff to be compliant with the medical regulations laid down regionally and internationally for the sports they are indulged in. The athletes and staff should regularly review and make sure there is no slip which could cost them dearly and more than just one nights sleep.
The approach towards solving sleep related issues for athletes need to be individualistic. This includes a proper evaluation and management of the sleep issues.
Herbal tea and vitamin supplements and other natural remedies as hypnotics
Sound sleep after a day’s training is a must for an athlete. According to some sports nutrition experts, vitamin supplements and herbal teas can help in inducing sleep.
According to renowned sleep scientist Alan Hsieh, natural remedies should always come before prescription drugs when it comes to manage sleep related issues. Adjusting sleep environments, diet and taking herbal tea, lemon balm and valerian root can prove beneficial in aiding sleep.
Other popular naturally occuring sleep aid include St. John’s wort, magnesium and calcium, hops, L-theanine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, tart cherry juice, kava, magnolia bark, passionflower, lysine, chamomile tea, lavender, skullcap, and Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA).
Melatonin is a hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland in response to darkness. It is directly linked to sleep and circulation rhythms in humans. The products which we discussed above are said to induce the production of melatonin, hence believed to help in management of sleep related issues. However, scientific studies and evidence supporting them are scarce.
Melatonin is available as a sleep aid supplement in the United States and Canada as an OTC pill. It is also available in the online store of approved companies. Carefully timed administration has been endorsed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
The link between Nutrition and sleep
In the recent times, renowned sciences have stressed upon the link between nutrition and sleep. According to researcher Dr Brandon Marcello, without proper sleep management, the effect of the most diligent plans of nutrition and supplements become useless.
At the same time, it is important to note again that, there is no clear evidence of effect of nay micronutrient on sleep.
Doctor’s prescription for sleep management
Some athletes have bigger and more complicated issues than others. In such cases it becomes important to consult a doctor for a detailed evaluation and get prescription drugs for sleep management. It is also important to take those drugs under the monitoring and supervision of a trained physician. In cases of several bouts of measurable insomnia and prolonged sleep disruption consultation with a trained physician becomes a more pertinent solution.
Sleep related issues like prolonged deprivation or irregular sleep patterns can cause damage to an individual’s health, hence, affecting their performance in any walk of life. When it comes to athletes, as they try not to leave any stones unturned, ignoring sleep management would be a big mistake. However, it should be a team approach to envisage the broader and minute aspects of athletes health, regulations and overall nutrition should be taken in to consideration.