How Vitamin Deficiencies Impact Your Sleep

How Vitamin Deficiencies Impact Your Sleep

We’ve known for years that getting enough vitamins and minerals in our diet is integral to our overall health and well-being, but did you know that certain vitamins are key to getting a good night’s sleep? We’re going to go over which vitamins and minerals can impact your sleep when you don’t get enough of them, and how you can add them to your day to help you get better sleep each and every night.


According to the Journal of Sleep Research, not getting enough of this mineral in your diet can negatively affect your ability to get to sleep, and may play a significant role in increasing your chances of suffering from sleep abnormalities, such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. How to get it: In order to get the recommended daily amount of 55 micrograms (mcg) of selenium in your diet, just add seafood, as oysters, salmon, and shrimp are all good sources of selenium. If you don’t care for the taste of fish, don’t worry – the Brazil nut takes the trophy when it comes to selenium, giving you a full day’s dose of this mineral in just one nut. Score!


One study of over 300 children by the University of Oxford proved that getting more omeg-3 fatty acids in your diet can help you achieve deeper and more restful sleep. The study showed that participants who had a higher level of omega-3 DHA (known to be the main fatty acid found in the brain) were rewarded with an average of a full hour more of sleep each night, along with a marked reduction of occurrences of sleep disturbances during the night. How to get it: Luckily for us, omega-3s can be found in some of the yummiest and most common foods on the market. Walnuts, salmon, and flaxseed are all high in omega-3 fatty acids, and adding flaxseeds to your diet can be achieved easily through mixing them into your morning cereal or smoothie. If you prefer an omelet for breakfast, you can also find omega-3s in eggs that have been collected from chickens that were fed a diet fortified with flaxseeds.


A study of almost 50 senior citizens with insomnia that was conducted in 2012 proved that participants who took 500 milligrams of magnesium each day for eight weeks improved their average sleep time and efficiency, as well as their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, showing that this mineral is a heavy hitter in the reduction of insomnia and its related symptoms. How to get it: Many seeds are great sources of magnesium, including those that come from pumpkins, sesame plants, and sunflowers. You can also add spinach or Swiss chard to your evening meal to get an influx of magnesium or try soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts thrown in before bedtime. If you don’t care for seeds, dark leafy greens, or pre-bed bathing, you might want to check with your doctor to see if they think adding a daily magnesium supplement to your healthcare regimen might help you get a better quality of sleep each night.

Vitamin D

Scientists have known that getting the right amount of vitamin D during your day increases your energy levels for quite some time, but they are just starting to see the link between it and improving people’s sleep. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2009 reported that low levels of vitamin D were directly related to shorter durations of sleep amongst the study participants, showing that those with lower vitamin D concentrations more than doubled their risk of getting less than five hours of sleep per night when compared to those with higher levels of this vitamin in their bloodstreams. How to get it: Some of the best sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, or even fish liver oils. If you’re not into seafood, you can make the switch to eating cereals and milk that have been fortified with vitamin D to help increase your chance of getting more (and better!) sleep each night.

The Bottom Line

Making sure to get enough of these key vitamins and minerals is a great way to help you get the deep, restful sleep that you’ve been after. Adding the listed foods (or doctor-approved nutritional supplements) that are rich in selenium, omega-3s, magnesium, and vitamin D to your regular diet can reward you with a better night’s sleep. And who doesn’t want that?
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