Doctors criticise Tsitsipas for using melatonin: "It is harmful for athletes"

Stefanos Tsitsipas sleeping

Stefanos Tsitsipas's statement after losing to Carlos Alcaraz at Roland Garros has gone viral.

The top Greek tennis player revealed that he took melatonin pills to sleep before the match, but they did not help him. That's how he announced that he would cut them off after sleeping on the court in the first two sets.

“One thing that I’m going to try to avoid in the future is to have melatonin pills [sleeping pills] and naps before matches because it clearly doesn’t seem to be working,” Tsitsipas told reporters.

“I had some late-night sessions. Not super late, but late enough for me to kind of have my sleep schedule ruined, in a way. Sleep is a very vital, important thing, and recovery is the most important thing when competing and playing big slams like this.

“I’ve made the mistake in the past […] and I had the exact same score as I did in those first two sets. “It wasn’t really that much fun out there in the first two sets. I felt completely off, kind of like sleeping in a way.

“I just wish it never happens again. It sucks."

Spanish newspaper Marca looked into the matter and revealed that melatonin does not help with experts wondering who advised him to do it!

Doctor Elena Urrestarazu, specialist in the Sleep Unit of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra, explains that melatonin "is the hormone that tells the brain what time to sleep and when to get up. You wake up when there is no melatonin in your body. The pill should have been taken the night before to get a good night's sleep, not hours before the game, not in the morning or in the afternoon. The important thing is to sleep the night before. If not, the body goes into 'sleep mode', during the day the body thinks it's night, you're heavy, sleepy, half-collapsed and not performing well."

On the other hand, neurologist Celia García Malo said: "Melatonin is a neurohormone that makes our brain and produces sleep. It is completely harmful to the sport. I don't know who could introduce her to Tsitsipas. And if taken, always at night, never during the day. Does not make sense. It really helps with jet lag, for example if an athlete is traveling to Australia."

Tsitsipas explained that he had not rested well during the tournament because he played several games at night. Doctor Urrestarazu also explained "if an athlete has insomnia it will not be very effective. In addition, if you usually sleep poorly, the risk of injury increases. Good sleep also affects recovery."

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