FAQ

Sleep disorders, insomnia: what to eat to sleep well

But what about when all the usual tricks fail? You could be overlooking one of the most important factors in getting enough sleep: your diet. What you eat, if you have trouble sleeping, can have a real impact on your lifestyle. Experts say there is clear evidence to support these claims.

In a 2016 article published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers found that a consistent diet with too little fiber (as well as too much sugar and saturated fat) could lead to more disrupted sleep. Another 2018 study published by the University of Arizona suggests that late-night snacks could keep you sleepy for many hours.

Here are the five vitamins that play a vital role in our ability to get quality sleep and how to get them into your diet.

Vitamin D: egg yolks, oily fish and yogurt

We know that food and sleep are deeply linked. But the truth is that we still don’t know enough about the impact of different nutrients on our sleep. Numerous studies have found a possible link between low vitamin D (sometimes called the sunshine vitamin) and sleep problems. These include reduced sleep duration, lack of sleep and the risk of developing sleep apnea, as well as the severity of sleep apnea. Additionally, this fat-soluble vitamin may regulate two genes that affect our circadian clocks. Sunlight is also our best source of vitamin D. It appears to be part of the mechanism by which sunlight keeps our biological clocks and daily sleep cycles in sync.

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Where to find it in food

Egg yolks, fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, swordfish, and sardines), and foods fortified with vitamin D provide healthy doses of vitamin D. A daily vitamin D intake of 600 is recommended. IU for adults aged 19-50.

Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds and rapeseed oil

If you are one of the adults who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, increasing your intake of this nutrient can improve breathing and sleep quality. And although lack of sleep has been shown to lower testosterone levels in men, maintaining healthy levels of vitamin E can help combat this reaction.

Where to find it in food

Wheat germ, nuts and seeds, and vegetable oils (such as canola, sunflower, walnut, and almond oil) are among the highest sources of vitamin E. Leafy green vegetables and fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna) also offer substantial amounts of this vitamin. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin E (RDA) for adults is 15 mg.

Vitamin C: Berries, peppers and cauliflower

In addition to improving sleep quality in people with sleep apnea, too little of this antioxidant can lead to fewer hours spent in dreamland. Lower levels of vitamin C, measured in the blood, have also been linked to greater disruption of nighttime sleep and an increased risk of sleep disorders.

Where to find it in food:

The best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, berries, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower and spinach. As well as other “green leafy” vegetables. The RDA for vitamin C is 75 mg per day for women and 90 mg per day for men.

Vitamin B6: fish, beef and starches

This water-soluble vitamin stimulates the production of two vital hormones needed to regulate sleep and mood: melatonin and serotonin. Additionally, a lack of vitamin B6 has been shown to increase symptoms of insomnia and depression. An important discovery since there is also a link between depression and sleep disorders. And if you’re hoping to remember your dreams in the morning, vitamin B6 could also help.

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Vitamin B6 converts a small amount of tryptophan into niacin, also known as vitamin B3, and serotonin. By not getting enough vitamin B6 from your diet, the metabolism of tryptophan in your body can be disrupted.

Where to find it in food

The richest sources of vitamin B6 are fish, beef liver and other organ meats, potatoes and fruits (other than citrus fruits). The RDA for vitamin B6 is 1.3 mg.

Vitamin B12: Fortified cereals, fish and eggs for breakfast

The evidence linking this B vitamin to sleep is not entirely clear. There are, however, some indications that it favorably affects sleep onset. Some experts claim that vitamin B12 regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

Where to find it in food

Vitamin B12 is naturally present in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products. It is generally not present in foods of plant origin. The recommended B12 level for adults is 2.4 mcg.

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