Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies That Affect Sleep

Tossing and turning all night, continuously waking up or staring at your ceiling as you hope to fall asleep… these sleep difficulties plague millions of people worldwide each night. If you’re experiencing trouble sleeping, you may feel as if you’ve tied it all and yet still struggle each night. 


Perhaps you have upgraded your bedding and pillow and now have a comfortable and supportive buckwheat hulls pillow. Maybe you have made a conscious effort to put your phone away and limit screen time before bed. You may have even started a bedtime meditation routine, and yet you still find it tough to fall (and stay) asleep at night. 


As you stare at the clock, trying to sleep, you may think, “if only there were a magic pill I could take to help me get a good night’s rest.” Well, there is, and it’s not a sleeping pill. A quality multi vitamin or magnesium glycinate supplement may be your key to blissful rest every night. These natural remedies are scientifically proven to aid in quality sleep and won’t leave you with any side effects.


There are specific vitamins and minerals that affect our sleep, and when you are deficient in these is can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. The following vitamin and mineral deficiencies can affect your sleep quality:



Vitamin B6 

vitamin b6 deficiency can affect sleep


B Vitamins are extremely important, and we need them to function. Vitamin B6 helps you sleep and also plays a role in dream recall. A 2018 study found that Vitamin B6 helped people remember their dreams in the morning.  Research on insomnia has also revealed that a Vitamin B6 deficiency is linked to insomnia and depression. This is because of the vital role this vitamin plays in the production of sleep hormones, Serotonin and Melatonin. Serotonin and Melatonin affect your mood as well as your sleep. 


Sleep experts believe there is a link between depression and sleep. More specifically, 75% of people with depression also experience insomnia. A study on older adults found that when older adults had a higher intake of Vitamin B6, they had a lower risk for depression. 


Vitamin B6 can be found in plenty of foods that may already be a part of your diet. Potatoes, bananas, carrots, whole grains, and spinach are great vegan sources of Vitamin B6. This vitamin is also found in milk, cheese, fish, and eggs. As it is with many vitamins and minerals, you can have too much. Too much Vitamin B6 is not good for you. The best option is to supplement with a multivitamin which will give your diet the extra boost it needs to ensure you are getting enough sleep-friendly vitamins and minerals. 



Vitamin B12

vitamin b12 deficiency can affect sleep


Another one of the B Vitamins that affects our sleep is B12. Vitamin B12 impacts your sleep-wake cycle. Research has found that this vitamin keep your circadian rhythm in check and regulates your sleep-wake cycle. How? Well, scientists and sleep experts are still working on that. What they do know is there is a connection between B12 deficiency and insomnia.    

Similar to Vitamin B6, research has found that a high level of B12 reduces the risk of depression which can, in turn, reduce the risk of depression-related insomnia. If you generally are able to fall asleep at night but find yourself waking up throughout the night, you may be low in B12. A B12 supplement or a multi vitamin can be helpful for those with sleep-wake disruptions.


B12 is found in animal protein such as meat, eggs, fish, and dairy. Those who eat a vegan or vegetarian diet may be deficient if they don’t supplement. Further, some people (more commonly older adults) have difficulty absorbing B12, so even if they are getting it from their diet, it may not be enough.


Vitamin D

vitamin D deficiency can affect sleep


The “sun vitamin” that plays a role in our immune function and bone health is also essential for our sleep. More and more research is revealing the connection between a Vitamin D deficiency and trouble sleeping. One study found that a deficiency was linked to a shorter duration of sleep in adults over the age of 50.   


In 2018, research analyzed several studies that looked at the relationship between Vitamin D and sleep. The analysis confirmed a connection between low levels of Vitamin D and sleep trouble. Not only did those deficient get less sleep, but the rest they got was considered poor quality.


Vitamin D also affects those with sleep apnea. If you are low or deficient and have sleep apnea, your symptoms and severity will worsen. There is plenty of research on the connection between sleep apnea and Vitamin D, all linking low levels of the vitamin to more severe sleep apnea.


Additionally, Vitamin D is believed to play a role in regulating our circadian clock and partially controls our 24-hour circadian rhythm. This is related to the best source of Vitamin D – the sun. Sunlight is your best source of Vitamin D. When your body is exposed to sunlight, your body responds by producing this Vitamin. You can also find it in fatty fish and fish oils, egg yolks, and dairy.





magnesium deficiency can affect sleep


Some estimates believe that up to 75% of Americans are not getting the recommended amount of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral used in every cell and organ. We need it to function, and it affects our brain, muscles, heart, and sleep.


The relationship between magnesium and sleep has been studied a great deal. The research has revealed that a deficiency can disrupt our sleep in a number of ways as well as trigger insomnia. Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders could also be triggered or worsened by a magnesium deficiency which in turn affects sleep.


A lack of magnesium will cause sleep trouble. But, a magnesium supplement will help regulate sleep quality and get a better night's rest. One study gave one group of older adults a magnesium supplement and another group a placebo. The results found that those who were taking magnesium had an overall better sleep.  These individuals exhibited higher levels of hormones, Melatonin and Renin, that regulate sleep. Similar to the results found in this study, a 2012 study found that magnesium supplements reduced insomnia in elderly adults. 


For those who suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome, magnesium may help. This condition is known to cause insomnia due to the uncomfortable sensation and urge to move the legs. A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found magnesium to be an effective natural therapy. 


A lot of foods, even water, contain magnesium. Dark leafy greens, peanut butter, seeds, and soymilk are just a few. Although it is found in many sources, many are still deficient and require magnesium supplements. If you look for a magnesium supplement, you will come across different types like magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate. Magnesium glycinate is the best for sleep. It is combined with glycine, which is another sleep-inducing amino acid. Further, this is the most absorbable form of magnesium so that you can reap the benefits. It also reduces stress and has a calming, relaxing effect. 


Magnesium glycinate won’t make you groggy or sleepy in the day, but when you do lay your head on your buckwheat hulls pillow, you will sleep soundly. Some magnesium supplements can be hard on your stomach and digestive system, but magnesium glycinate is gentle, so you won’t feel any side effects but enjoy a more restful, quality slumber. 


Vitamin E

vitamin E deficiency can affect sleep


This powerful vitamin affects your sleep in several ways. If you have insomnia or sleepless nights, you know how it can affect your memory and brain function. The following day after a restless night, you likely feel mental fog and fatigue. Vitamin E protects brain health and saves your memory. An interesting rat study found that Vitamin E reduced memory loss when sleep deprived. 


Similar to Vitamin D, it can also help those with sleep apnea. Research has shown that individuals with sleep apnea are low in Vitamin E. Vitamin E, combined with other vitamins (multi vitamin), can improve breathing at night and give those with sleep apnea a better quality sleep. 


Sleep deprivation not only affects your brain function but adversely affects your hormones. 

A lack of sleep affects testosterone levels – unless you have a sufficient amount of Vitamin E. Some research has found that an adequate amount of Vitamin E can protect testosterone production when sleep deprived. 


Depending on your diet, you may already be getting a sufficient amount of Vitamin E. 

Vitamin E-rich foods include sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, wheat germ oil, soybean oil, spinach, tomatoes, and broccoli. If these aren’t foods you eat often, a multi vitamin should do the trick. 


Processed foods or a diet limited in variety can result in deficiencies in specific vitamins and minerals. Although sometimes, our bodies don’t effectively absorb the nutrients from food. Taking a daily multi vitamin or magnesium glycinate can help you get a good quality sleep every night you spend on your buckwheat hulls pillow.

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