The Impact of Kiwifruit Consumption on the Sleep and Recovery of Elite Athletes

Rónán Doherty, Sharon Madigan, Alan Nevill, Giles Warrington, Jason Gordon Ellis

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Abstract

Background: Poor sleep and resultant under-recovery can negatively impact training adaptations, increase the risk of injury and reduce subsequent performance. Due to the ‘food first’ approach adopted by many athletes, there is scope for investigation of ‘functional food’ based interventions (i.e., kiwifruit contains melatonin which plays a role in circadian rhythm regulation) designed to promote athlete recovery and/or enhance sleep quality and quantity. Methods: Following the baseline assessment (Week 1) all subjects began the intervention (Weeks 2–5). During the 4-week intervention, participants were asked to consume 2 medium-sized green kiwifruit (Actinidia Deliciosa) an hour before bed. Participants completed a questionnaire battery at baseline and post-intervention, and a daily sleep dairy for the duration of the study. Results: The results demonstrated a positive impact of kiwifruit consumption on key aspects of sleep and recovery in elite athletes. From baseline to post-intervention, there were clinically significant improvements in sleep quality (i.e., improved PSQI global scores and sleep quality component scores) and improvements in recovery stress balance (reduced general stress and sports stress scales). Moreover, the intervention improved sleep as evidenced by significant increases in total sleep time and sleep efficiency % and significant reductions in number of awakenings and wake after sleep onset. Conclusion: The findings broadly suggested that kiwifruit does impact positively on sleep and recovery in elite athletes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2274
Number of pages19
JournalNutrients
Volume15
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2023

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