7 Vitamins You May Be Lacking If You Have Trouble Sleeping
Lack of vitamins are often associated with a host of health problems, but the link between vitamin deficiency and poor sleep is usually overlooked. Studies have proven the relationships between certain vitamins and quality of sleep. Additionally, these vitamins are usually connected to mental health, and symptoms like stress and insomnia.
Here are seven vitamins you may be lacking if you have trouble sleeping, according to experts.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is mainly produced when your body is exposed to the sun, and is only found in a few foods like fish and some dairy products.
Studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with sleep disorders, and low levels of Vitamin D increase the risk of a sleep disorder. Since it can be hard to get Vitamin D from food, if you aren’t getting enough Vitamin D you can take a pill to get your daily dose. But make sure to take your vitamin with meals, as Vitamin D is fat-soluble.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps to fight cold, lower stress hormones, and fight symptoms of stress like sickness and poor sleep. Studies have shown that Vitamin C can reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) levels, help stress tolerance, and fight sleep deprivation.
Aside from eating oranges, you can boost your Vitamin C levels by eating kale, broccoli, peppers, and strawberries.
It turns out there may be some truth behind that nightly glass of warm milk. Studies have shown that calcium levels are highest during REM sleep, the deepest sleep phase when dreams occur. Calcium helps boost production of melatonin, which is why foods high in calcium, like dairy, can actually make us sleepier.
4. Vitamin B12
Vegans and vegetarians in particular have to watch their levels of B12, as Vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal products. A Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to insomnia, depression, and both daytime fatigue and sleep problems at night. If you start to notice these symptoms after switching to a more plant-based diet, it may be worth taking a supplement.
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to poor sleep as well as anxiety and depression (which can worsen insomnia). Increasing levels of magnesium has been shown to better sleep quality and regulate stress levels.
Magnesium is often recommended to patients with anxiety or depression, but can be beneficial to anyone. You can find magnesium in dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and dark chocolate.
6. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 benefits the body by converting tryptophan, an amino acid, into serotonin, which regulates mood and melatonin levels.
Vitamin B6 deficiency has been linked to poor sleep quality. Studies show that participants who took a Vitamin B6 supplement reported better sleep quality, and feeling more well-rested and refreshed when they woke up in the mornings.
Vitamin B6 can be found in foods such as chickpeas, salmon, watermelon, and spinach.
The body naturally produces melatonin, but factors like bright lights or even diet can reduce production of melatonin and make it harder to sleep at night. There are many ways to naturally boost levels of melatonin, like reducing exposure to blue light, eating melatonin-rich foods like goji berries, walnuts, or pineapple, or trying relaxation techniques which potentially boost levels of melatonin.
Doctors recommend both eating a whole foods, nutritious diet, and reducing stress to maximize nutrition and health. If you think you are deficient in any of the above vitamins, it may be worth speaking to a doctor to determine if supplements are right for you.