Alaska Sleep Education Center

The Surprising Connection Between Vitamins and Your Sleep Quality

Posted by Paisley Hansen on Nov 10, 2021 1:44:00 AM

Good looking man drinking orange juice in his kitchen

Getting a good night's rest can be challenging for several reasons. Your lack of sleep may be due to mental, emotional, or physical issues such as stress or obesity. It's also possible that you're not sleeping well due to poor eating habits. If you're not getting the rest your body needs, you're increasing your risks for some pretty troublesome health issues, such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

A possible solution to tossing and turning all night is to change your diet to include key vitamins, as deficiencies have been linked to sleep issues. To help you get the most restful sleep at night, make sure you include these vitamins as part of your diet.

Vitamin D

It's common knowledge that vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health, mood regulation, inflammation, and immunity. In addition to these vitamin D benefits, it also helps with sleep quality in a few different ways. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to poor sleep quality and less amount of sleep overall. Moreover, a lack of this vitamin can worsen sleep apnea symptoms for people who suffer from this illness.

Another benefit is that vitamin D activates two genes to keep your circadian clock in check. This clock, located in the hypothalamus, sends signals to different parts of your body during the day to tell it what activities it should be doing, such as sleeping. Because light and dark influence the clock, a connection can be made between sunlight (the biggest producer of vitamin D in your body) and your ability to sleep. While spending time in the sun is the best way to get vitamin D, you can also take supplements or eat certain foods. Egg yolks, salmon, sardines, milk, swiss cheese and yogurt are some of the best options.

Vitamin B

Several B vitamins aid in the sleep process. Vitamins B1 and B2 not only turn food into energy, but also produce melatonin, the sleep hormone. The production of melatonin shows that these vitamins encourage sleep. Taking a thiamine (vitamin B1) supplement can help you sleep better throughout the night, which will allow you to wake up feeling refreshed. To avoid deficiencies, add vegetables, eggs, and meat to your diet.

Vitamin B6 helps with your thinking ability and supports immune health. Because it aids cognitive function, it is no surprise that vitamin B6 enables you to remember your dreams. It also works to produce the two important hormones – serotonin and melatonin. Whereas melatonin makes you sleepy, serotonin stabilizes your mood. When these hormones are out of whack, your ability to sleep is negatively impacted. 

The combination of serotonin and melatonin produces a relationship between lack of sleep and depression. While not everyone who is depressed has sleep problems, a large percentage of these people suffer from insomnia. Many others with depression sleep too much, a condition called hypersomnia.

Some foods that are rich in vitamin B6 are cheese, fish, bananas and whole grains. A note to make about vitamin B6 is that too much of this vitamin can be toxic. Before starting a supplement, in addition to changing your diet, it's best to talk to your doctor to ensure your level doesn't get too high.

Vitamin B12 helps your body produce red blood cells and supports brain and cardiovascular functions. As far as sleep is concerned, it appears that vitamin B12 helps to regulate your circadian rhythm. However, studies show conflicting results about sleep. Some studies revealed that a deficiency led to insomnia, whereas other research showed that high levels were related to interrupted sleep patterns. Keeping your vitamin B12 level within a normal range will have the best outcome for your ability to sleep. To ensure you're getting enough of this vitamin in your diet, eat shellfish, dairy and eggs.

Vitamin E

The main focus of vitamin E is cell function. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to keep cells safe from free radicals, such as cigarette smoke. Additionally, Vitamin E keeps the immune system strong and able to fight off infection. 

So how does this vitamin help with sleeping? A deficiency can cause nerve pain, which may keep you up at night. Additionally, many people suffering from sleep apnea have a deficiency in vitamin E. If you have this ailment, add extra vitamin E into your diet with nuts, broccoli and seeds. An adequate amount of vitamin E has been shown to enhance breathing and sleep quality. Also, this vitamin helps women who are going through menopause sleep better by lessening the effects of night sweats and hot flashes. 

Vitamin C

You're probably most familiar with vitamin C's ability to help with immunity. In addition to this characteristic, vitamin C plays a significant role in a person's ability to sleep well. In fact, people who have higher concentrations of this vitamin in their systems sleep better than people who have lesser amounts in their bodies.

Vitamin C helps with a few different aspects of sleep, especially in older adults. If you wake up frequently or have trouble falling asleep, you may have a lower concentration of vitamin C in your bloodstream. Another issue that can arise from a deficiency is an increase in the frequency and persistence of restless leg syndrome. This urge to move can make sleeping nearly impossible, so ensuring your vitamin level is at an acceptable range will certainly help.

It's clear that several vitamins help with the severity of sleep apnea, and vitamin C is no different. Sleep apnea may cause you to stop breathing for up to 30 seconds. This scenario then leads to a decrease in oxygen levels and constricted blood vessels. Vitamin C helps your blood vessels to function better, thus relieving some of the stress on the heart. To limit the number of times your breathing stops, take vitamins C and E together, as this combination has been shown to be effective. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to cardiovascular disease. 

Some of the best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries and kiwi. If you'd prefer a drink instead of food, orange juice is the best choice. Another option is to use a powder supplement that you can add to water. 

Conclusion

If you're having trouble sleeping, ask your doctor to administer a vitamin deficiency blood test, which will show you whether any vitamin levels are too high or too low. If the blood test results show that you have deficiencies, fixing your inability to sleep may be pretty straightforward. Don't continue to suffer when there are ways to improve your sleep ailments. Take the steps necessary to make a healthier version of yourself. Not only will you start to feel better in the near future, but you'll decrease your chances of getting sleep deprivation-related diseases later in life.

It’s all well and good taking vitamins and minerals, but to get a good night’s sleep, you have to ensure that your diet and lifestyle choices are healthy too. So as well as making sure you consume foods rich in sleep-friendly nutrients, cut down on your caffeine and alcohol intake, avoid technology immediately before bed, and build up energy to exercise regularly.

Call Alaska Sleep Clinic today if you cannot seem to find out a way to get better sleep for a free sleep assessment. Improve Your Sleep. Improve Your Life.

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Topics: vitamins, sleep health, getting beter sleep

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