There's no more abundant source of Vitamin D than the sun! Direct sunlight exposure onto your skin automatically triggers the synthesis of this essential vitamin within your body.
Topping up your vitamin D level may be useful in improving your sleep and help you get back to wide awake days and being your best self.
A recent study has suggested that vitamin D may have an impact on sleep quality, and therefore vitamin D deficiency may be linked to daytime sleepiness and difficulties with resting.1
Vitamin D isn't strictly speaking a vitamin at all. It's actually a group of fat-soluble hormones produced within your skin when it's exposed to natural sunlight, but it can also be found in a few foods such as salmon and tuna, beef liver, cooked egg yolks and some mushrooms.2
Vitamin D is mainly associated with bone health, however this 'sunshine vitamin' may also be useful when it comes to improving a person's sleep.
Recent research has begun to indicate that vitamin D may influence both sleep quality and sleep quantity, and some research has suggested that one possible reason why sleep disorders have reached epidemic proportions is because so many people are deficient in vitamin D.3
We know already that sunlight – which produces vitamin D – has an impact on circadian rhythms.
Other studies have analysed the relationship between sleep patterns and vitamin D levels and found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, as well as disrupted sleep and less sleep overall.4
There's no more abundant source than the sun! Direct sunlight exposure onto your skin automatically triggers the synthesis of the sunshine vitamin within your body, but remember that factors like time of day, your skin colour, sunscreen, clothing and seasonal weather can limit this. In addition, it's still very important to protect your skin from excessive exposure.
However, a sensible amount of time in the sun may help give your body the boost it needs to maintain not only good health, but sleep too. A few minutes of sunlight on your face and arms on most days should do the trick. In Australia, when the UV index is greater than 3, it’s best to do this in the early morning or late afternoon to reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer.5
Eating vitamin D rich and fortified foods can also help increase levels. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, swordfish, and sardines are all excellent sources of vitamin D, as well as liver and eggs. Vitamin D is added to margarine in Australia. Some milk drinks, soy drinks, bread and cereal may also be fortified with vitamin D.5
Vitamin D supplements are another option to help maintain healthy vitamin D levels. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking vitamin supplements.
The best way to determine your vitamin D level is to ask your doctor for a blood test. This will take the guesswork out, as your doctor can assess your situation and may put together a plan to correct and maintain healthy levels for your overall health and sleep.
A good night’s sleep is the best way to ensure you wake up refreshed and keen to face the new day.
Why not download our free eBook, 8 Ways To Sleep Better Tonight, which explains the 8 best ways to improve your sleep in order to keep your energy levels high and your body healthy.
If you or your partner are facing some issues around sleep and daytime tiredness, but you’re not sure if you should take it further, you can find out if it could be a sign of something more serious.
ResMed is a global leader in sleep technology that has its origins right here in Australia. Our goal is to provide people with the means to awaken their best and enjoy healthier lives by promoting good sleep habits and creating awareness for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
Majid MS et al. Nutr Neurosci. 2018 Sep;21(7):511-519. The effect of vitamin D supplement on the score and quality of sleep in 20-50 year-old people with sleep disorders
Gominak, SC, and Stumpf, WE. Med Hypotheses.2012 Aug;79(2):132-5. The world epidemic of sleep disorders is linked to vitamin D deficiency.
Gao Q et al. Nutrients 2018 Oct; 10(10): 1395.
https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/foods-high-in-vitamin-d accessed 4 July 2019.
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