While prescription medications and over-the-counter sleep aids get most of the attention, there are a number of easily available and safe vitamins that help you sleep.
Getting a good night’s sleep assists with maintaining energy levels during the day and promotes overall good health.
The short-term results of poor sleep are decreased productivity and a higher level of irritability.
Over the long-term, a lack of regular sleep can be considerably detrimental to your overall quality of life.
Numerous studies show that a continuous lack of sleep can result in chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, mood disorders and immune functions; all of which can lead to a shortened life expectancy.
Also, several studies have identified the link between insufficient sleep and weight gain. More specifically, research has found that those with less than six hours per night are more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI) than those who get sleep eight hours.
Although vitamins will not specifically put you to sleep, there are several that encourage a better night’s sleep and overall improved sleep quality thus giving you the feeling of more rest. These vitamins will help with high quality sleep; it is up to you to go to bed a reasonable hour to ensure around eight hours of sleep is achieved.
Also known as “The Sunshine Vitamin”, Vitamin D helps to regulate Circadian Rhythms which are your body’s internal clock.
A deficiency of this vitamin will significantly affect the quality of your night’s sleep. When your body’s clock is not running properly, it cannot signal the necessary sleep hormones required to make you fall asleep and wake up.
Therefore, to improve sleep and overall health, the Vitamin D Council recommends between 3000 and 5000 international units (IU’s) per day. Of course this number varies based on age, absorption, weight, skin color and regular exposure to the sun.
There are numerous methods to give your body a balance amount of Vitamin D.
First, sunlight prompts the body to naturally make Vitamin D. However, given the risk of skin cancer, medical professionals advise only 20 to 25 minutes of sunlight exposure.
Second, fatty fish such as salmon, trout and tuna are excellent sources of Vitamin D.
Third, drink fortified milk which contains a high level of Vitamin D.
Finally, supplements and multi-vitamins offer a sufficient level of Vitamin D.
Melatonin is a natural hormone made byte pineal gland that helps you regulate the circadian cycle. Therefore, taking a short-term Melatonin supplement can help you fall asleep and increases sleep quality.
Your body clock controls the amount of Melatonin made by your body.
In the mid-to-late evening, your body’s levels increase and remain high throughout the night then drop in the early morning.
Light has a significant impact on the amount your body produces. During the winter months, your body produces Melatonin earlier in the day and later during the summer months.
Although Melatonin can be found in small amounts in meats, grains, fruits and vegetables, you cannot consume enough for it to have an impact on sleep. Therefore, Melatonin is best consumed through supplement pills. These should only be used for short-term sleeping problems such as jet lag or random insomnia.
You should always check with your doctor prior to taking the supplement to determine the correct dosage if even necessary.
Vitamin E has a direct link with Restless Leg Syndrome which can cause sleepless nights or poor quality sleep throughout the night due to sleep disturbance. Restless Leg Syndrome occurs because of your body’s consistent need to exert energy.
According to a study published in American Family Physician, Vitamin E helps to control restless leg syndrome thus helping patients fall asleep faster and remain asleep during the night (Baryad, Avonda, Wadzinksi, 2008).
Similarly, Period Limb Movements and nocturnal leg cramps are conditions that keep people awake at night and can be eased through Vitamin E consumption.
Vitamin E is found in a variety of food such as sunflower seeds, vegetable oils, meat, poultry, fruits, vegetables, eggs, wheat germ oil and cereals.
Vitamin E can also be consumed as a supplement or in a multi-vitamin.
Preventive medicine specialist and medical writer, Dr. Robert M. Giller, notes in his book “Natural Prescriptions” that Vitamin E should be taken in supplements of 400 IU’s twice per day following meals.
There are two primary B vitamins that can affect sleep: B6 and B12.
Although Vitamin B6 provides energy, the primary purpose of this vitamin is to naturally produce tryptophan in the body. Tryptophan is an amino acid that produces serotonin which encourages healthy sleep. Vitamin B6 is available in a variety of foods such as organ meats, starchy vegetables, fresh fish and non-citrus fruits.
Vitamin B12 promotes the healthy production of melatonin which supports healthy and high-quality sleep. Vitamin B12 is also available as a supplement and always found in multi-vitamins. Additionally, the vitamin naturally occurs in animal products such as clams, beef liver, salmon, trout and beef. Also, dairy products like cheese and yogurt have high concentrations of the vitamin.
Since Vitamin B12 is not available in most plants, it is available in most cereals which are fortified with the vitamin so vegans and vegetarians can have a well-balanced meat-free diet.
Magnesium is required for the absorption of calcium and assist with calming of the nerves and relaxing the muscles.
Therefore, the more relaxed you are, the high probability of sleeping through the night Magnesium deficiencies are quite common and usually lead to stress hormone release in the body resulting in Restless Leg Syndrome and Period Limb Movements.
Extensive studies have shown that even a slight lack of it can prevent brain activity from settling down when you need to fall asleep.
The best sources of Magnesium include, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, almonds and wheat germ. Also, Magnesium supplements are available and most multi-vitamins also contain it.
Doctors always recommend checking with them first prior to consuming Magnesium supplements as it can negatively interact with many medications. Also, high dosages of Magnesium can result in serious health issues. Your doctor can help you determine the best dosage for any sleeping issues you may have.
Although it is best to consume or produce these amino acids, vitamins and minerals naturally, sometimes help is required. Most of the supplements previously listed are available in two forms: extended release and immediate release. Therefore, if you have sleeping difficulties, it is recommended that you try the immediate release option first so that the effects are quick.
However, if you continue to have difficulties sleeping, the extended-release may be the best option as it will slowly disperse throughout the night. Of course, this is best confirmed with your doctor based on the circumstances of your sleeplessness.
Natural sleep remedies can work wonders for short-term and long-term sleeping problems. The overall best method of ensuring a good night’s sleep is by living a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise, a positive mental state and a balanced diet. Although this may not always be possible, it can help ensure that you get the correct amount of sleep for your body.