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Waking up in the middle of the night?
None of the sleep remedies seems to be working out for you?
Have you checked if you’re getting the vitamins needed for sleep?
Along with making your sleep a daily priority, 5 key vitamin deficiencies might just be the secret answer to your ever-longing peaceful slumber.
This is a complete guide on everything you need to know about the five essential vitamins for sleep and how you can take care of those vitamin needs through your diet or other natural sources.
If you’re struggling with sleep issues, check out the…
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The information provided in this post is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Always consult a medical professional before making any changes to your medication/ treatment routine.
Vitamin D [Source]
We all need Vitamin D because of its role in bone health. However recent studies have found out that Vitamin D might be much more crucial to our health and well being than previously thought of.
It plays multiple important roles in our body:
- Promotes healthy bones and teeth
- Supports immunity
- Supports brain, and nervous system health
- Supports lung function and cardiovascular health
- Regulates insulin levels and supporting diabetes management
Researchers have recently found out that it also plays an instrumental role in sleep.
Studies show that a deficiency of Vitamin D is found to be a major risk for sleep-related disorders.
Other studies have confirmed Vitamin D’s significance in sleep after people with Vitamin D deficiency were found to suffer from a lack of sleep quantity as well as quality.
Another study concluded an increase in the severity of sleep apnea in patients with an increased deficiency in Vitamin D.
Researchers also believe that Vitamin D can be critical in influencing the genes which control our Circadian rhythm, which is our internal biological clock which controls when you sleep and wake up.
I believe future studies will only confirm the massive significance of Vitamin D in our sleep and overall well-being which undoubtedly asks for making it a priority in our diet and lifestyle.
Our body is actually capable of producing Vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight.
For this reason, Vitamin D is considered to be more of a hormone than a vitamin at all.
Sources of Vitamin D [Source]
- Sunlight Exposure (Recommended 10-30 mins, depending on skin sensitivity)
- Fish (Cod Liver, Salmon, Trout, Sardines, Tuna)
- Milk, Egg Yolk, Beef Liver
- Fortified Cereals & Soy, almond, and oat milk
Vitamin E [Source]
Known for its antioxidant properties, Vitamin E is important for the protection of cell damage and improving cell functioning. The Medical community has found out some of the important roles of Vitamin E in our body:
- Promotes eye health and vision
- Supports cognitive functioning
- Promotes healthy skin and well-being
- Supports the health of blood
Chronic sleep deprivation can hamper your brain’s ability to form long-term memory.
However, recent studies have shown that Vitamin E promotes sleep-related memory protection.
Another study confirmed improvement in nighttime breathing and sleep quality in people suffering from sleep apnea after intake of Vitamin E combined with other vitamins.
Lack of sleep has been linked to lower testosterone levels, but research confirmed that Vitamin E plays a significant role in maintaining healthy levels of testosterone during sleep.
Vitamin E is fat-soluble meaning your body can store and use it when needed. It has been one of the most prescribed supplements since the 1950s, however, doctors have started to recommend against going overboard with it because of it’s serious side effects including increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
Including food-based sources of Vitamin E in your diet seems like the best option without any potential risk of overdosing on it.
Sources of Vitamin E: [Source]
- Vegetable Oils – Wheat Germ, Sunflower, Hazelnut, Almond, Safflower, Rice Bran Oils
- Almonds, Peanuts, Hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts, Pine Nuts,
- Sunflower Seeds
- Raw Red Sweet Peppers, Turnip, Green Leafy Vegetables(Spinach and Broccoli)
- Mamey Sapote, Avocado, Mango, Kiwi
- Goose Meat, Salmon, Trout
- Fortified Breakfast Cereals, Fruit Juices, Margarine, and Spreads
Vitamin C [Source]
We need Vitamin C for many of the essential functioning in our bodies.
Known for its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C or ascorbic acid plays a major role in our health and well-being:
- Supports the formation of blood vessels
- Supports the development of cartilage and muscles
- Supports formation of collagen in bones
- Promotes better bone, teeth, and skin health
- Promotes better heart health and blood pressure
- Reduces the risk of chronic diseases
- Protects memory formation and cognitive functioning with age
- Boosts immunity
Research studies show that Vitamin C improves sleep quantity and quality after it was found out that decreased consumption of Vitamin C resulted in a decreased amount of sleep with frequent nightly sleep disturbance.
Lack of Vitamin C in blood makes people prone to sleep disorders.
Since our body does not produce Vitamin C, we must include foods rich in Vitamin C to our diet.
Sources of Vitamin C: [Source]
- Green Chili Peppers, Red Chili Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers
- Kiwi, Lychee, Lemon, Strawberries, Orange, Pineapple
- Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Tomato, Turnip, Spinach, Okra
Vitamin B6 [Source]
It is another water-soluble vitamin essential for a number of functions in our body.
There are several important roles of Vitamin B6 in the health and well-being of our bodies.
- Improves cognitive functioning
- Supports the production of hemoglobin
- Prevents clogged arteries and promotes better heart health
- Fights inflammation
- May even prevent cancer
Vitamin B6 also aids in the production of serotonin and melatonin which promotes and enhances the quality of sleep. Because of this reason, researchers also link Vitamin B6 with a lower risk of insomnia and depression.
Recent studies have also found out that Vitamin B6 might help us to remember our dreams better, enhancing our chances to experience lucid dreaming.
Our body doesn’t produce Vitamin B6 and we have to rely on foods and supplements.
Be careful with dosage through supplements however, as high levels of Vitamin B6 can be toxic and even lead to insomnia.
Sources of Vitamin B6: [Source]
- Pork, Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Fish (Salmon, Tuna)
- Whole grain cereals like oatmeal, wheat germ, brown rice
- Red Chili peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Potatoes
- Banana, Avocado
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Milk, Egg Yolk (raw), Fortified Tofu
Vitamin B12 [Source]
Another of the B vitamins that our body needs but cannot produce on its own.
Vitamin B12 plays a key role in many important functions in our bodies.
- Promotes red blood cell formation
- Supports bone health
- Prevents loss of neurons with age
- Promotes better heart health
- Supports better skin, hair, and nail health
Recent research studies have linked Vitamin B12 with improved sleep quality and claimed that it may play an important role in determining our circadian rhythm.
This influence has led researchers to believe that Vitamin B12 may be instrumental in decreased risk of depression due to sleep deficiency and insomnia.
Because our bodies are capable of storing Vitamin B12, chances of becoming deficient are rare. However, those eating plant-based diets run a higher risk of not getting the required amount through their food. So vegans might have to take up supplements.
Sources of Vitamin B12: [Source]
- Beef Liver and Clams
- Beef, Chicken, Fish (Trout, Salmon, Tuna)
- Fortified Cereals
- Low-fat Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Eggs
This post was inspired by Dr. Michael Breus’s article on ‘5 Vitamin Deficiencies that Can Affect Your Sleep’
Dr. Michael Breus is a psychologist and sleep specialist who also calls himself “the Sleep Doctor”.
He popularized four different categories of chronotypes (Bear, Lion, Wolf, Dolphin) after findings from several research studies in his book ‘The Power of When.’
Reading his book (‘The Power of When‘) has changed my life and I would recommend anyone to give it a read and understand why I trust him when it comes to sleep.
Vitamin deficiencies can become a serious issue for your sleep if unnoticed for a long time.
We all have the option to choose what we put on our plates.
Along with making your sleep a daily priority, you can take up simple food habits that can truly restore your peaceful sleep and make a big difference in your life.
- Find Out When To Sleep To Have Your Best Day
- 10 Steps to Prioritize Sleep
- 7 Best Teas to Help You Sleep
- 6 Hidden Sources of Caffeine to Avoid Before Sleep