Alaska Sleep Education Center

Vitamins and Sleep

Posted by Stefanie Leiter

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on Dec 19, 2020 10:42:00 AM

Igloo made with snow cubes at night

As we move toward the winter months, sunlight is dwindling. When our skin is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays, it triggers our vitamin D synthesis. Production of vitamin D can occur within 10 minutes of sunlight exposure making the winter months tough for Alaskans.

According to a study from Healthline, "vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it does not dissolve in water and is absorbed best in your bloodstream when paired with high-fat foods." By taking vitamin D supplements at dinner, the largest meal of the day, increased blood levels by about 50% after just a few months. A few foods that contain high vitamin D include eggs, nuts, avocado, and seeds.

Common risk factors for a vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Older age
  • Darker skin
  • Obesity
  • Avoiding fish or dairy
  • Staying indoors
  • Living far from the equator

 

A deficiency in vitamin D can affect your sleep via apnea conditions. Recent studies found that the CPAP not only significantly improves the symptoms of sleep apnea, it also is connected to an increase in vitamin D levels. Eating fatty fish, egg yolks, dairy, and juice are known to help with apnea when added to your diet along with fish oil supplements.

Though more commonly connected to immune health, a lack of vitamin C can affect your sleep. Healthy bones, teeth, and skin is part of vitamin C's power to make collagen. By adding strawberries, broccoli, kale, kiwi, and citrus fruits to your diet, you lower your risk for sleep disorders.

Without vitamin C, daytime sleepiness may increase which puts your cardiovascular health in jeopardy. Untreated sleep apnea leads to high blood pressure that spirals to more cardiovascular issues. Circulation can be compromised when properly breathing at night.

For those who enjoy a daily serving of bananas, carrots, potatoes, whole grains, or dairy, vitamin B6 aids in restful sleep to help the daily production of your hormone's serotonin and melatonin. With low levels of either, depression and sleep issues can occur increasing your likelihood for sleep apnea.

Connected to improving cognitive performance and maintaining high energy, vitamin B complex can have a positive affect if you are feeling irritable or stressed. Stress can be lowered while elevating your energy when adding B complex to help you focus and sleep through the night.

Remember that the best medicine for a healthy night sleep is to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Start a journal to keep track of foods you are consuming and vitamins you are adding. Be alert to how you can adjust your daily schedule to exercise, cook healthy, and create a comfortable place to sleep.

Like any change in your diet or the addition of vitamin supplements, consult your doctor for the correct dosage. To learn more about additional options to help you sleep better, check out another blog about supplements. If you are suffering from any sleep disorder, including Insomnia, call our board-certified sleep specialists today at Alaska Sleep Clinic.

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Topics: seasonal affective disorder, winter

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