Sleep Health

Can vitamin D help you sleep?

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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. 

How vitamin D helps with sleep

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

What is vitamin D?

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.

How does vitamin D affect 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

3 ways to top up your vitamin D to ‘D-fend’ your sleep quality

1. Get more sun!

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

2. Eat vitamin D rich foods

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

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3. Take a vitamin D supplement

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.

How to check your vitamin D level

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.

Interested in other ways to improve your sleep?

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.

Do you or your partner have sleep issues?

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.

Take the online sleep assessment or browse the shop for ideas on improving your sleep health

ResMed

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Citations

3

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.

 

4

Gao Q et al. Nutrients 2018 Oct; 10(10): 1395.

 

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