Tara Gidus Collingwood

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

  • Containing melatonin:
    o Tart Cherries
    o Pineapple
    o Oranges
    o Bananas
    o Gogi Berries
    o Grapes

  • Containing tryptophan:
    o Milk
    o Cheese
    o Yogurt
    o Nuts (walnuts, peanuts, almonds)
    o Salmon
    o Tuna
    o Chicken
    o Turkey
    o Shrimp
    o Eggs

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 five 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 degrees. 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 Gidus Collingwood is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness and health promotion.  She is currently the nutrition consultant to the USTA National Campus with Andrews Institute and Nemours, the team dietitian for the Orlando Magic NBA team, the nutrition consultant to University of Central Florida Athletic Department and a nutrition and exercise executive coach at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.



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