11 Aug 2020

Five Vitamins Linked to Sleep

You might find yourself tossing and turning night after night for any number of reasons. But here is one you may not have thought of: vitamin deficiencies.

“We know that diet and sleep are deeply connected,” says Michael Breus, PhD, who blogs as The Sleep Doctor. He says there are five vitamins “that appear to play a role in how much sleep we get and how restful and high quality that sleep is.”

VITAMIN B6

LINK TO SLEEP

Researchers have found that vitamin B6 plays a role in the production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for proper sleep. This nutrient also plays a role in mood regulation and as Breus puts it, “There’s a strong correlation between depression and sleep problems.” Fun fact: “Vitamin B6 may help people increase their ability to remember their dreams,” according to Breus.

OTHER FUNCTIONS

Vitamin B6 is a busy nutrient. It supports more than 100 enzymatic reactions within the body and plays roles in protein metabolism and immune function, and in maintaining normal levels of an amino acid called homocysteine, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease.*

FOOD SOURCES

Bananas, bell peppers, poultry, spinach, turnip greens

VITAMIN B12

LINK TO SLEEP

Researchers have found a link between vitamin B12 deficiency and sleeplessness. “Several studies have demonstrated that this vitamin is involved in regulating sleep-wake cycles by helping to keep circadian rhythms [the body’s internal clock] in sync,” says Breus.

OTHER FUNCTIONS

Vitamin B12 is needed for proper neurological function and the production of red blood cells. Like B6, it also helps control homocysteine.*

FOOD SOURCES

Liver, sardines, salmon, shellfish, snapper

VITAMIN C

LINK TO SLEEP

Studies have associated low levels of vitamin C with such signs of poor sleep as frequent nighttime awakenings and waking up too early without ever getting back to sleep. In addition, a lack of vitamin C may play a role in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition marked by interruptions in breathing throughout the night that result in poor-quality sleep. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb non-heme iron, a form of this important mineral found in plant-based foods and a nutrient linked to reductions in restless legs syndrome, in which jumpy legs make it difficult to stay asleep.*

OTHER FUNCTIONS

Vitamin C helps protect cells from free-radical damage. It is also used in the production of collagen, a crucial protein found in skin, bone and connective tissue.*

FOOD SOURCES

Bell pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, lemons, oranges, parsley, strawberries

VITAMIN D

LINK TO SLEEP

“There is a growing body of research showing vitamin D affects both how much sleep we get and how well we sleep,” says Breus. For example, a 2018 analysis in the journal Nutrients, which included nine studies involving nearly 9,400 participants, found that people who were D-deficient “had a significantly increased risk of sleep disorders,” including poor sleep quality and short sleep duration, according to the study team’s report. And Breus notes that being low in D has been “linked to more severe cases of OSA.”

OTHER FUNCTIONS

As one of calcium’s nutrient partners, vitamin D is needed to build healthy bones; it also plays a role in immune function. In addition, evidence suggests that D may contribute to the regulation of blood pressure and glucose usage.*

FOOD SOURCES

Cod, eggs, mackerel, milk (enriched), salmon, sardines, shrimp; also created in skin exposed to sunlight

VITAMIN E

LINK TO SLEEP

As with vitamin D, low levels of vitamin E have also been linked to an increased risk of OSA. In addition, scientists have found that vitamin E may help protect against the memory problems that may occur as the result of sleep loss.

OTHER FUNCTIONS

Vitamin E helps protect cells from free-radical damage and supports cardiovascular well-being.*

FOOD SOURCES

Almonds, chard, spinach, sunflower seeds, whole grains

†The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.

The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

 

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