How does vitamin D affect our sleep?
During the winter, we are exposed to less sun and, because of this, our bodies may lack an essential nutrient – vitamin D.
Just as the sun is linked to our circadian rhythm, research suggests vitamin D deficiency could also help explain sleep problems.
TEMPUR looks at the general benefits of vitamin D, and if it influences our sleeping habits…
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is essential for the body to function properly, helping to control calcium and phosphate levels. In turn, calcium and phosphate help to ensure that we have healthy bones, teeth, and muscles.
Vitamin D also supports the immune system, giving our body a stronger chance of fighting off infection and controlling inflammation.
The most intense source of vitamin D is sunlight. When we are exposed to sunlight, a molecule in our skin reacts with the UVB light emitted from the sun, causing vitamin D to be synthesised in our bodies. In this respect, vitamin D is often not considered a vitamin but a hormone created by the body.
Vitamin D and sleep
Whilst there are physical benefits, vitamin D deficiency is often linked to depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a complex condition but is thought to be caused by less exposure to sunlight due to shorter days in winter.
As well as helping the body to function, studies show that vitamin D can also affect the quality of our sleep, and whether we have too much or too little may be contributing to our restless nights.
Vitamin D receptors in our brain are in the areas that control sleep too. Therefore, if vitamin D levels are optimal, sleep quality could also be improved.
Whilst direct evidence is lacking for the correlation between vitamin D and sleep, it is proven that vitamin D deficiency can lead to weaker bones and immune system problems, indirectly causing disruptions to sleep.
Sources of vitamin D
If you’re feeling tired, having bone or muscle pains, or you’re simply not seeing enough of daylight due to long hours at work, you may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Here are some sources rich in vitamin D:
• Cod liver oil
• Fatty fish – salmon, mackerel, and sardines
• Vegetables – broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower all contain a compound which enhances vitamin D in the body
However, diet cannot solve vitamin D deficiency alone so it’s essential you try to get outside for a couple of hours each day.
If you’re struggling to sleep because of muscle or bone pain, speak to a doctor who may check your blood for vitamin D levels.
Alternatively, ensure you’re sleeping on a mattress which is providing you with maximum comfort. The TEMPUR Hybrid Collection is made from unique TEMPUR material, providing pressure point relief while you sleep.
Have you suffered with vitamin D deficiency? If so, did it affect your sleep? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below…