Vitamin D and Sleep: Is There a Connection?
Did you know that, according to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults in the US aren’t getting enough sleep?
If you aren’t getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night, then you’re likely seeing negative effects throughout your daily life, such as feeling irritable or not having enough energy to think clearly. If you’re having trouble sleeping, then you’re probably interested in the connection between vitamin D and sleep.
After all, you could really benefit from taking vitamin D if it helps you sleep. You’re already suffering so much, not being able to fall asleep when you get into bed or waking up in the middle of the night.
Not sleeping may be starting to affect your work abilities, your relationships, and how well you get along with your friends and family. You’ll do anything to finally get that full night’s restful sleep.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. We’ll review how vitamin D can help you get that sleep you need. Once you’ve learned everything you need to know about vitamin D and sleep, you’ll finally get those 7 to 9 hours of sleep you’ve been needing for so long.
Read on to learn more.
The Need for Vitamin D
Before we go into how vitamin D can help you with your sleep, we’ll cover some facts about the vitamin D deficiency that is affecting the sleep of so many people.
Nearly half—42 percent—of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, according to Canton Mercy.
This probably explains why so many Americans suffer from sleep disorders. After all, there are many ways that vitamin D helps you with your sleep, which we’ll show in the next section. So, if you aren’t getting enough of it, you might be suffering from a sleep disorder such as insomnia as a result.
There is a natural way to get vitamin D: from the sun. However, during the winter months, you’re less likely to go outside and get that sun you need. Additionally, the sunlight might be blocked because of the cloudy winter weather.
It’s also possible that you simply don’t spend a lot of time outside. Whether you’re busy at work or raising kids, you might not be able to get out as much as you want to.
If you aren’t getting enough sun and it’s affecting your sleep, this is where sleep vitamins such as Vitamin D come in. By taking this vitamin, you can get your rest and feel more productive during the day.
Vitamin D and Sleep
Vitamin D affects many parts of your body positively, which is why it’s one of the best vitamins for sleep. When the functions in your body are working at their best, your sleep improves. Additionally, vitamin D has a direct impact on the quality of your sleep.
So if you’re asking yourself the question, “Does vitamin D help with sleep?” the answer is yes.
This has been demonstrated in several studies that have been done on both rodents and people. In a study involving rodents, it was demonstrated that there are vitamin D receptors in the brain which are also used for the regulation of sleep.
Additionally, there have been studies done on people that show the connection between vitamin D and sleep. In these studies, it was demonstrated that there is an association between low vitamin D levels and low quality of sleep.
There was a specific study in which participants added more vitamin D to the amounts they usually had. When they did this, they had improvements in neurological symptoms as well as sleep.
Additionally, there was another study in which the impact of vitamin D on the sleep quality of men aged 608 and over was studied.
In this study, there were over 3,000 men. Throughout the length of the study, they had to measure their wake times, their wake frequency, their total sleep time, and their sleep efficiency—the actual time spent sleeping in bed, as opposed to just lying there.
Based on these men’s vitamin D levels, two things became clear.
When these men had low levels of vitamin D, they often slept less than 5 hours nightly and their sleep quality was poor. Additionally, those with lower levels of vitamin D scored lower when it came to sleep efficiency.
Working on a Micro Level
We still don’t fully understand vitamin D’s impact on sleep. We’re only getting started with research on the topic. However, it’s certainly clear that, when it comes to the best vitamins to help sleep, vitamin D is one of them.
We can see this when we look at how vitamin D impacts sleep on the micro-level.
There was a study completed in 2017 where the relationship between vitamin D and sleep was studied in hemodialysis patients. Researchers came to the conclusion that it’s possible vitamin D is directly related to the areas of the brain that regulate sleep.
This is why vitamin D intake makes such a big difference when it comes to the quality of your sleep. Vitamin D is an actual necessary part of the process of sleeping on the micro-level.
Additionally, vitamin D works with your immune system on the micro-level. If your immune system is healthy, then you are probably less inflamed. As a result, you can sleep better.
As you can see, vitamin D has a micro-level effect on your sleep both directly and indirectly.
Vitamin D and Melatonin
Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that is made in your body. When it’s doing its job, it regulates your sleep patterns. For this reason, many people use melatonin supplements when they have trouble sleeping.
However, did you know that vitamin D actually works together with melatonin to help you sleep better? Even though scientists don’t know how these two interact on the micro-level, they do know something about this interaction.
According to scientists, it’s possible that this connection exists because one of vitamin D’s jobs in the body is to regulate the tryptophan hydroxylase (or TRPH) expression. This expression, in turn, does the job of controlling serotonin.
Without serotonin in your system—or with low levels of it—it’s impossible or difficult for your body to produce melatonin.
So, in this entire process, vitamin D ends up regulating your body’s melatonin production. No vitamin D leads to no serotonin, and no serotonin leads to no melatonin. As a result, the hormone that regulates your sleep isn’t present.
So if you have a vitamin D deficiency, your sleep is likely to suffer. Fix this issue by getting some vitamin D in your system.
Vitamin D and Serotonin
As we explained above, vitamin D has a direct impact on your serotonin production. Now, while serotonin isn’t directly related to your sleep, it does impact it—in a way separate from the issues with melatonin production. This is because serotonin has an impact on mood.
According to Healthline, serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer that, among other things, helps you regulate your anxiety and reduce your depression.
If you don’t have enough vitamin D, then you don’t have enough serotonin. If you don’t have enough serotonin, then you’re more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. You probably already knew this, but if you didn’t, you should know: depression and anxiety have a negative impact on sleep.
According to the Sleep Foundation, depression can make it difficult for you to fall asleep or to stay asleep once you’ve finally fallen asleep. Unfortunately, when you haven’t slept well, you’re more likely to suffer from depression. This depression, in turn, makes it difficult to sleep.
A similar pattern occurs if you suffer from anxiety. So, how do you get out of this vicious cycle?
Going to therapy and going to anti-depressants is certainly a good solution, and we recommend it. But while you’re waiting for that appointment or prescription, you can take some vitamin D to help regulate your serotonin production.
That way, at least, you can stabilize your mood a bit naturally, which can help improve your sleep.
Taking Vitamin D for Sleep
When you’re taking vitamin D for sleep, one might think that it makes sense to take it right before you go to bed. But, in fact, you should be doing the very opposite. Vitamin D is actually related inversely to your melatonin levels. As a result, if you take it at night, it will make you feel wired, not sleepy.
For this reason, it’s actually best to take your vitamin D first thing in the morning.
That way, it won’t get in the way of your sleep. It will only aid with it, kicking off the micro changes that occur in your body to improve your sleep quality and get you sleeping longer, faster.
There’s an additional reason for taking your vitamin D first thing in the morning. This vitamin is fat-soluble. This means that it’s best to take it when you’re eating.
So, when you’re having your coffee and breakfast in the morning before you go to work, you can take your vitamin D with any additional pills and supplements you take in the morning. That way, you won’t ever forget to take your vitamin D!
How to Get Vitamin D for Sleep
Now that we’ve covered how vitamin D works in your system to improve your sleep, and how you can take it so that it doesn’t get in the way of your melatonin production at night, we’ll provide you with information on how you can get vitamin D.
One way to get the vitamin D you need is by going out and getting some sun. However, because you can get sunburned and even heighten your chances of getting skin cancer, we recommend you wear some sunscreen when you go out.
This way, you can get some vitamin D without endangering yourself.
It helps to combine going outside with other ways of getting vitamin D. Another way of getting vitamin D is by eating foods that have a lot of vitamin D in them. These foods include red meat, fatty fish, liver, and eggs.
Additionally, you can get vitamin D in the form of supplements. If you have a vegetarian or vegan diet, then this might be a good idea for you. Also, if you live in an area where there isn’t much sunlight or short winter days, like Norway or Scotland, then you should think about getting supplements.
Not sure? Speak to your doctor. They can tell you more about the signs of a vitamin D deficiency and if you need to add supplements to up your daily intake.
They’ll also tell you how much vitamin D you should be taking based on your health and your habits. If necessary, they’ll also get you a blood test so you can know what your vitamin D levels are now.
Need More Information?
Now that you know about the connection between vitamin D and sleep, you might need more information. Maybe, you’re looking for the right place to buy vitamin D supplements. Or maybe you want to learn more about how you can get vitamin D into your everyday diet?
Whatever information you need, we’re here to help. At Supplementor, we’re experts when it comes to the vitamins and supplements you need to lead a healthy life. We also sell supplements online.
To view our full line of vitamins and other supplements, click here.