Many people take dietary supplements, such as vitamins and minerals, to fill nutritional gaps in their diet. However, some people may find that taking vitamins can cause issues with getting enough sleep.
Research indicates that in 2017–2018,
Some evidence suggests that an inadequate intake of nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, calcium, and magnesium, links to sleep problems. However, taking supplements of certain vitamins may also lead to sleep disturbances.
In this article, we examine whether vitamins cause insomnia. We also discuss the other possible causes of insomnia and the potential treatment options.
Currently, there is not enough evidence to prove that vitamins cause insomnia. However, some research has identified a link between vitamins and an increase or decrease in a person’s sleep quality.
Deficiencies or higher levels of the following vitamins may impact sleep:
Growing evidence suggests that vitamin D plays a role in sleep. Studies indicate that vitamin D receptors in several brain areas
Vitamin D and melatonin have opposite rhythms. The skin synthesizes vitamin D through sunlight exposure, whereas the pineal gland primarily produces melatonin at night.
There is little scientific evidence on how taking vitamin D in the evening affects sleep. However, increasing vitamin D levels with supplements may suppress melatonin generation, leading to sleep disturbances. For this reason, people should take vitamin D supplements in the morning to replicate how the body synthesizes them from sunlight rather than taking them at night.
A vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of disorders and may have links with sleeping difficulties, shorter sleep duration, and waking up several times.
Research shows conflicting findings about vitamin B12’s effect on sleep.
However, other research found that elevating vitamin B12 levels did not alter a person’s sleep or waking activities. Furthermore, taking vitamin B complex with magnesium and melatonin
Vitamin C may affect the duration and quality of sleep. A study comparing short and long sleepers found that people with the lowest vitamin C intake slept for the shortest time. Another study identified high plasma levels of vitamin C among long sleepers.
There was also an
Researchers are still determining whether taking vitamin C supplements improves sleep. However, some sleep research in cancer patients suggests that increasing vitamin C consumption may benefit sleep health and improve insomnia symptoms.
Older research indicates that deficiencies in vitamin B6
Insomnia can occur as a condition of its own or as a symptom of other conditions.
Causes of insomnia may include:
- disruptions to the internal body clock, due to travel or work commitments
- poor sleep habits, such as an irregular bedtime schedule
- unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as stimulating the brain late in the evening by playing video games
- eating late in the evening
- mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression
- neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease
- neurodevelopmental conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- certain medications, such as those for depression, asthma, and high blood pressure
- sleep-related disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome
- consuming alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
Treatment for insomnia will depend on what is causing it. A doctor may recommend a person change their sleep habits, address stress, or treat underlying medical conditions.
If these measures do not improve sleep, a doctor may advise cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription sleep medications.
Improving sleep habits can sometimes help a person get better sleep. Sleep habits that enhance sleep may include:
- going to bed and getting up at the same time every day
- ensuring the bedroom is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature
- removing electronic devices from the bedroom, such as smartphones, TVs, and computers
- avoiding large meals, alcoholic beverages, and caffeine before bedtime
- exercising each day, but not within 3 hours of bedtime
A person should see a doctor if they are consistently tired despite getting enough sleep. Not feeling well-rested could indicate a sleep disorder or other condition.
Researchers need to complete more studies to determine whether or not vitamins cause insomnia. However, some studies suggest having deficiencies or elevated levels of certain vitamins may impact sleep.
Many factors cause insomnia, and insomnia may also be a symptom of another medical condition, such as depression.
Doctors treat insomnia according to the cause and may recommend a combination of lifestyle and sleep habit changes, CBT, and medication.
People should contact a doctor for advice if they regularly have problems sleeping.