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Importance Of Sleep In Recovery And Performance.

In order for us to perform and continuously adapt to training, we need to optimise our recovery both physically and mentally. Recovery from training and competition can be augmented by nutritional interventions but one of the most dominant recovery tools known to science is sleep. The knock-on effects of lack of sleep include reduced cognitive function e.g. reaction time, lack of motivation and/or focus, an increased risk of injury and illness as well as incomplete muscle glycogen resynthesis. Overall, although few athletes get it right, by prioritising and optimising sleep, athletes can elicit unrivalled benefits to both their physical and mental health.

Why Sleep Plus?

Sleep Plus has been developed as a world leading solution to help you recover optimally to make the most of your training by improving sleep quality and maximising your performance.

What Makes Sleep Plus?

A juice drink mix (40ml) to be consumed 60 minutes prior to bed with multiple active ingredients chosen to elicit improved sleep latency (the time taken to fall asleep) and sleep quality. Sleep plus is made up of:

30ml of Tart Cherry Juice:
A naturally high source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Tart Cherry juice has been demonstrated to increase sleep duration and sustained time asleep3 as well reducing muscle inflammation5.

1g of Tryptophan:
An amino acid that increases serotonin, which in turn increases melatonin and will increase feelings of sleepiness7.

3g of Glycine:
An amino acid that also elevates serotonin. Improves sleep quality ease and speed of getting to sleep and sustained time asleep8 as well as reducing feelings of fatigue the day following a night of shorter than usual sleep1.

200mg of Theanine:
An amino acid that can enhance sleep by lowering anxiety and enhancing positive emotional states6, thereby aiding ability to fall asleep.

300mg of Magnesium:
A mineral that can increase a naturally occurring amino acid called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) which encourages relaxation. Magnesium has been shown to increase deep sleep2.

How Should I Consume Sleep Plus?

To consume Sleep Plus, you can add it to 200ml of cold water, warm water or get more inventive! You can add it to recovery shakes, smoothies or yogurt, whichever way suits you best! My favourite way to have it has been as a hot drink as I find it really relaxing but I think I’ll definitely have it with yogurt when I’m feeling hungry, perfect snack to have before bed!

My Personal Experience.

As a triathlete and endurance swimmer, my training volumes can get quite high alongside a generally busy lifestyle with work and my PhD. Lack of sleep significantly affects my motivation and fatigue; my training and work suffer equally. I’ve also done multiple events with significantly less sleep time and reduced sleep quality the night before, I find you don’t notice this straight away with the adrenalin of the event taking over, but when over halfway through, I usually feel the effect of this! It is very common for athletes to report sleep disturbances prior to competition, mostly due to problems with falling asleep because of thoughts about competition and nervousness4.

I have been using sleep plus for a week to see how this affects me personally, I tend to sleep 7-8 hours a night with a very similar routine daily. Since using sleep plus I’ve found it easier to get to sleep and my deep sleep has increased from ~1-2 hours to ~2-3 hours so far (measured via Garmin accelerometric sensor). I feel awake in the mornings, often waking before my alarm and I feel ready for my next training session! I’m looking forward to using Sleep Plus as part of my preparation for races in particular.


  1. Bannai, M., Kawai, N., Ono, K., Nakahara, K. & Murakami, N. (2012) The effects of Glycine on subjective daytime performance in partially sleep-restricted healthy volunteers. Front Neurol, 3:61.
  2. Held, K., Antonijevic, I. A., Kunzel, H., Uhr, M., Wetter, T. C., Golly, I. C., Steiger, A. & Murck, H. (2002) Oral Mg(2+) supplementation reverses age-related neuroendocrine and sleep EEG changes in humans. Pharmacopsychiatry, 35(4), 135-43.
  3. Howatson, G., Bell, P. G., Tallent, J., Middleton, B., McHugh, M. P. & Ellis, J. (2012) Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr, 51(8), 909-16.
  4. Juliff, L. E., Halson, S. L. & Peiffer. J. J. (2015) Understanding sleep disturbance in athletes prior to important competitions. J Sci Med Sport, 18(1) 13-8.
  5. Kelley, D. S., Adkins, Y., & Laugero, K. D. (2018). A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries. Nutrients, 10(3), 368.
  6. Kim, S., Kyungae, J., Hong, K-B., Han, S. H. & Suh, H. J. (2018) GABA and L-Theanine mixture decreases sleep latency and improves NREM sleep. Pharmaceutical Biology, 57(1).
  7. Silber BY, Schmitt JA. Effects of tryptophan loading on human cognition, mood, and sleep. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2010;34(3): 387–407.
  8. Yamadera, W., Inagawa, K., Chiba, S., Bannai, M., Takahashi, M. & Nakayama, K. (2007) Glycine ingestion improves subjective sleep quality in human volunteers, correlating with polysomnographic changes. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 5(2).


Written By

Dr Emily Jevons - PhD in Exercise Physiology & Nutrition, Clean Sport Advisor

Emily has worked with Science in Sport since 2021. With a PhD in Exercise Physiology & Nutrition, she currently provides nutritional advice for endurance athletes. Emily not only understands the science behind performance nutrition solutions, but also the physiological and psychological demands of sport after competing competitively in swimming and triathlon for a number of years.