Updated February 14, 2021Sleep deprivation is a common problem among all age groups, with an estimated 50 to 70 million people reporting chronic sleep disorders. Many things can lead to sleep deprivation, like an irregular sleep schedule, too much caffeine, and an imbalanced diet. In fact, a lack of certain vitamins and key nutrients can even lead to poor sleep quality.When we don’t get the vitamins our body needs to function properly, physical performance, overall health, and sleep quality can all suffer. In this article, we discuss the vitamins necessary for maintaining a healthy diet and getting a good night’s sleep.Vitamin CVitamin C is known for its immune-boosting properties, but it also plays a role in sleep. A 2014 study surveying U.S. adults revealed individuals with low levels of vitamin C struggled with getting sleep and were more likely to wake up throughout the night. Another study on vitamin C showed that it improved stress tolerance and helped prevent sleep deprivation.Most people in the United States get the recommended amount of vitamin C, and deficiencies are fairly rare. Fruits and vegetables are some of the best vitamin C sources, particularly citrus, peppers, strawberries, potatoes, and broccoli. Vitamin C can also be found as a dietary supplement and in most multivitamins.MagnesiumMagnesium is a mineral that helps to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. It also produces GABA, an amino acid that relaxes the nervous system, which eases and relieves muscle tension. Any pain or tension found in the body can prevent us from enjoying refreshing sleep, so getting enough magnesium is important for quality rest.Not getting enough magnesium over a long period of time can also lead to loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, and vomiting.Magnesium can be found naturally in foods like legumes, nuts, whole grains, leafy vegetables, milk, yogurt, and other milk products. It’s also available as a dietary supplement or in multivitamin supplements.IronIron is essential for feeling alert and energized. The mineral is responsible for making hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from our lungs to our body. Iron is also used to make myoglobin, which provides oxygen to muscles. When we don’t get enough iron, we tend to feel weak and lethargic and may even have a hard time concentrating.Iron deficiencies are fairly common, especially among women. To ensure you’re getting enough iron, make sure you’re incorporating iron-rich foods like lean meat, seafood, poultry, nuts, spinach, and beans into your normal diet. In particular, vegetarians may struggle to get enough iron without eating meat and should be aware of their iron levels.Iron is also available in the form of supplements. It’s important, however, to make sure you’re only getting the recommended amount of iron. The recommended daily amount of iron for adult women, aged 19 to 50, is 18 mg, and for men aged 19 to 50, just 8 mg. All adults 51 and older need only 8 mg a day.Taking too much iron can lead to an upset stomach, nausea, fainting, and vomiting. It can even lead to iron toxicity, which happens when someone takes an excessively high dose of iron. Iron poisoning can cause organ failure, convulsions, and even death.Vitamin B12Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient helping to keep nerve and blood cells healthy. It also helps prevent a certain type of anemia called megaloblastic, which causes you to feel tired and weak. Failing to get enough vitamin B12 can cause an array of issues that may interfere with sleep, including weakness, loss of appetite, constipation, and weight loss.Animal foods are the best source for vitamin B12, with beef liver and clams boasting the highest amounts of this vitamin. Other good sources include fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products. Nearly all multivitamins contain vitamin B12, and it can also be found as a dietary supplement. Vegans often experience a B12 vitamin deficiency because of diet limitations. They should pay attention to whether they’re getting the recommended daily amount through food or need to add a supplement to their routine.Vitamin B6Vitamin B6 is vital to brain function and metabolism. It also plays a role in producing serotonin and melatonin, key elements to help you relax and let your body know it’s time to sleep. Low levels of B vitamins have also been shown to increase the risk of depression and other related disorders. Depression has been linked to various sleep issues like insomnia, circadian rhythm disruptions, and hypersomnia.Vitamin B6 is naturally found in foods like bananas, carrots, spinach, and potatoes and is also available as dietary supplements or in multivitamins.Vitamin DVitamin D is a nutrient your body needs to perform a variety of essential functions. It plays a key role in strengthening bones by absorbing calcium. This works to build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.Vitamin D also helps your muscles to move, aids nerves in carrying messages between your body and brain, and fights off viruses and bacteria. All of these tasks are crucial for your body to continue operating at its peak, a main factor in quality sleep.Vitamin D deficiency is fairly common among people because it is naturally found in only a few foods. Cow’s milk and fatty fishes (salmon, tuna, mackerel) are the best sources of vitamin D. Mushrooms, cheese, egg yolks, and beef liver also contains small amounts of the nutrient.Sunshine is another great source of vitamin D. Our body makes the vitamin when our skin is exposed to sunlight—albeit not through a window. Since ultraviolet rays can damage the skin, and not everyone lives in a sunny climate, this is not always ideal for getting vitamin D.Vitamin D can also be found in multivitamin supplements or as dietary supplements. These are best taken with a somewhat fatty meal or snack because vitamin D is fat-soluble.CalciumCalcium is a mineral that helps to keep bones and teeth strong. It also helps blood vessels move throughout the body and releases hormones and enzymes. A low calcium intake can contribute to osteoporosis and poor bone health later in life. It can also potentially prevent us from getting restful sleep. According to a 2014 study, low calcium levels were associated with disrupted rapid eye movement (REM), the last stage in the sleep cycle.Most people struggle to get the recommended amount of calcium even though it’s found in many common foods. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are the top sources of calcium in the United States, with kale, broccoli, some fish, and grains also being good sources of the mineral. Calcium is also found in many multivitamin, mineral, and dietary supplements.TryptophanTryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps make niacin, a B vitamin necessary to produce serotonin. Not only is serotonin a major factor in stabilizing our mood and emotions, but it also controls a wide array of functions, including sleep. Serotonin stimulates parts of our brain that control sleep and waking.Tryptophan can only be sourced through your diet because our bodies do not make it on their own. Great sources of the amino acid include eggs, poultry, and sweet potatoes, but can also be found as an herbal supplement.Tips for Getting Quality SleepEnsuring you get the proper amount of vitamins and minerals each day is key to maintaining overall health and getting enough sleep. However, there are other daily things you can do to fall asleep quickly and improve your sleep quality. Some of these habits include:Maintaining a regular sleep schedule: Keeping a consistent sleep schedule will help your body to naturally regulate its sleep-wake cycle and prevent daytime sleepiness. This will make it easier to fall asleep and wake up, leading to healthy sleep patterns and feeling more rested overall.Creating a restful environment: Encourage relaxation by creating a relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom. Make sure the temperature of the room is at a comfortable level. Most experts agree the best temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to also block out any light with opaque curtains and turn off all electronic devices to mitigate stimulation.Limiting caffeine prior to bedtime: Caffeine can keep you awake and ideally should be avoided seven hours prior to bedtime to avoid interference with sleep.Exercising regularly: Regular exercise, even if just for 30 minutes a day, can improve sleep quality and help you drift off quicker.FAQsIs it better to take vitamins in the morning or at night?Generally, it’s ideal to take vitamins in the morning because most of them are best taken with food to prevent an upset stomach. B vitamins should definitely be taken in the morning because they stimulate brain function and metabolism and can affect sleep and relaxation if taken before bed. Some vitamins and minerals, like magnesium, should be taken at night because they promote relaxation.What are the benefits of vitamin C?Vitamin C boasts many benefits, including protecting against any immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, eye disease, and skin wrinkling. It also works as an antioxidant to protect you from free radicals, which can lead to heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C can also help you absorb and store iron.Vitamin C is a key nutrient needed to form things like muscle, collagen in bones, cartilage, and blood vessels, and is an important factor in your body’s healing process. While our bodies don’t produce vitamin C, most people get enough through their diet and can be found in foods like berries, citrus fruits, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and broccoli.What are the symptoms of too much iron?Iron is an important mineral our bodies need to function correctly. It plays a large part in hemoglobin, responsible for delivering oxygen to our body’s cells. Iron deficiency is one of the most common mineral deficiencies, and it’s important not to get too much iron.Our bodies regulate our iron levels with very little “free” iron circulating in our bloodstream. However, taking too much iron can increase the levels of “free” iron in the blood, leading to iron toxicity and cause damage to cells. It can also lead to iron poisoning, which is essentially an overdose of iron.The first symptoms of iron poisoning include stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. Continuing to take too much iron can cause a build-up of iron in organs and tissue. This increases the risk of arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart failure, and liver issues.Is melatonin the same as vitamin D?No, the two are created differently. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin by being exposed to UV radiation from the sun. Melatonin, on the other hand, is produced by the pineal gland and typically released at night. It helps regulate our sleep cycles by signaling to our brain when it’s time to sleep and wake.Vitamin D is also suspected of playing a role in our sleep; however, it’s not entirely clear how. We know vitamin D helps manage inflammation and support our immune system, leading to better sleep. Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to restless leg syndrome, a condition causing the uncontrollable urge to move your legs due to an uncomfortable sensation.Is melatonin or magnesium better for sleep?Melatonin and magnesium both play a role in sleep, but in different ways. While melatonin is offered as a supplement, we don’t recommend taking it for sleep because there is not enough research on the effects it can have.Magnesium, however, is a great option for those who need help maintaining sleep. Magnesium is a mineral that helps to calm the body and central nervous system, which leads to a more relaxed state. It also works to calm the brain, preparing it to shut down for the night and promote a soothing sleep. There are also several foods high in magnesium, such as avocados, dark chocolate, and dark leafy greens, that can help induce sleep.ConclusionMany of the key vitamins and minerals that contribute to our overall health, also support quality sleep. Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes the recommended amount of nutrients is the best way to protect your immune system and keep your body strong and functioning properly. All of these factors provide the foundation for getting a good night’s rest.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. 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