Does Vitamin D Status Impact Sleep Quality?

Vitamin D Council

Research suggests that vitamin D may help improve common sleep disorders.

Do you have a difficult time falling and/or staying asleep, or feel restless at night and fatigued during the day? If so, you may be one of approximately 80 million Americans who struggle with a sleep disorder.

Quality sleep is crucial for supporting both mental and physical health. The science behind why sleep is so important remains elusive, but it is clear that sleep is a life-sustaining function. In fact, researchers theorize sleep is required to enable the body to repair or restore what is lost while awake.

Most of us can attest to the negative impact sleep deprivation has on our health. From memory loss and mood changes to impaired judgement and loss of physical drive, sleep disorders pose a serious threat to long-term health. In fact, when left unmanaged, sleep disorders have been linked with an increased risk in heart disease, stroke and mortality.

Research suggests that vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” may be a useful tool in managing two common sleep disorders, insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea.

How vitamin D may improve sleep quality:

  1. Circadian rhythm:
The circadian rhythm is our body’s internal clock that instructs us when to sleep, eat, and rest. The sun plays an important role in regulating circadian rhythms in humans, and research suggests vitamin D mediates this relationship.

This theory has been supported by several studies which have found low vitamin D status is linked with disordered sleeping habits, and that vitamin D supplementation improves sleep quality.

  1. Inflammation & muscle function:
The muscles that line the throat must work synergistically to promote regular breathing and proper swallowing. In cases of obstructive sleep apnea, these muscles intermittently relax during sleep, temporarily cutting off airway supply. The lack of oxygen reaching the tissues stimulates inflammatory pathways, and eventually results in gasping or startling awake.

Researchers theorize that vitamin D may help manage sleep apnea through its ability to reduce inflammation in the body by suppressing inflammatory pathways. In addition, vitamin D has been proven to improve muscle function.

Research on vitamin D and sleep quality:

The relationship between vitamin D and sleep has been evaluated by over 200 studies in the last 10 years, with research suggesting vitamin D deficiency is associated with more disrupted sleep and less overall sleep among a variety of populations.

One study conducted in 2012 found that maintaining vitamin D levels between 60-80 ng/ml improved sleep quality and neurological outcomes. These findings were further validated by a randomized controlled trial published in 2017 that found vitamin D supplementation helped improve sleep quality in adults who suffer from insomnia. Furthermore, a recent study found that vitamin D deficiency was associated with a lack of response to medication among insomnia patients.

Vitamin D and obstructive sleep apnea:

Research continues to grow regarding the role of vitamin D in sleep apnea, with the overarching findings suggesting vitamin D status is closely related to sleep apnea among both children and adults.

A study published in 2016 found that 98% of those with sleep apnea had low vitamin D levels (< 30 ng/ml). Another study found low vitamin D levels were linked with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea in children. Furthermore, a paper published in 2017 found low vitamin D levels was associated with increased sleep apnea severity. These findings led the Vitamin D Council to conduct a podcast with Dr. Joel Gould, Dr. Ronaldo Piovezan, and Dr. John Cannell, leading experts on this topic, to gain further insight.

Vitamin D recommendations:

The body’s sleep cycle appears to be yet another system that requires vitamin D to function properly. However, it is important to note that there are a variety of factors that impact sleep quality, so vitamin D alone may not completely resolve sleep disorders.

However, due to the safety and affordability of supplementation, the Vitamin D Council recommends adults supplement with 5,000 to 10,000 IU (125–250 mcg) vitamin D3 daily in order to reach healthy vitamin D levels (40–80 ng/ml) and thus support healthy sleeping patterns. Of course, the only way to ensure your vitamin D needs are being met, is to have your vitamin D levels tested.

If you would like to share your experience with vitamin D and sleep quality with the Vitamin D Council, or have any questions we can help answer, please email us at: info@vitamindcouncil.org. To learn more about the role of vitamin D in a variety of health outcomes, check out our website at: www.vitamindcouncil.org.

Editor’s note: Life Extension suggests maintaining an optimal range of 50–80 ng/ml in the blood. This differs from the standard reference range which is 30 ng/ml.

Citation

Sturges, M. Does vitamin D status impact sleep quality? The Vitamin D Council Blog & Newsletter, 2017.

1 comments :

codered said...

I asked my doctor if I could have my vitamin D levels check. She said can’t do it unless there were specific symptoms. Personally I say phooey.

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