Countless studies have shown time and time again just how important the quality and amount of sleep we receive is to our general health and well-beings. Although the exact amount of sleep that each person needs will vary slightly from individual to individual, almost all adults will require between about 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night to receive an optimum amount.
Sleeping for shorter periods than this each night can lead to a number of adverse conditions and outcomes, from a lowered performance levels at work, through to difficulties with problem solving, and even to issues with immune function, and increased fat levels.
The majority of people who suffer from sleep deprivation tend to have a lower satisfaction when it comes to social, family, and economic situations. Sleep deprivation isn’t just a case of going to be late either, as conditions such as insomnia can make it almost impossible for those with the condition to get anywhere near enough sleep each night. As many as 10% of adults have had problems with chronic insomnia.
Due to how important sleep is to our health and everyday lives, it’s little wonder that so many people do all they can to get the best night’s sleep possible. From changing habits, through to investing in new beds, lighting, and even purchasing new gadgets, it seems that we’ll go to any length to get the optimum amount and quality of sleep each night.
Recently, attention has turned to using Vitamin D supplements to help boost the quality of our sleep. It’s been suggested that Vitamin D might play a key role in maintaining a good level of sleep, that low levels of Vitamin D can impair our quality of sleep. It should be noted that direct links between Vitamin D and sleep conditions are still quite lacking, although there is still plenty of evidence to suggest that higher levels of the vitamin can improve the sleep we get.
Some disorders, such as sleep apnea, have been linked to low levels of Vitamin D. Although the evidence was rather limited due to being observational, it seemed to be enough evidence to inspire other investigators to study the possibility in more details.
The study involved a randomized controlled plan on 93 people aged between 20 and 50 years old in a hospital in Iran. The individuals included where those who were believed to suffer from poor sleep, and who had received a sub optimum level of sleep over the previous month. To ensure that the trial was as fair as possible, the research team excluded smokers and those who were taking sleeping medication ,or had any high-dose Vitamin D supplement over the past three months. The team also excluded anybody with a serious sleeping condition from the results. Sun exposure levels were taken into account.
Those in the Vitamin D group were given four doses of 50,000 IU vitamin D3, with one dosage every two weeks. The placebo group were given edible paraffin oil on the same schedule. Blood levels were recorded for their level of Vitamin D at the beginning and end of the eight week period.
The results showed that at the end of the test, those taking the actual Vitamin D supplements, who therefore had higher levels of Vitamin D in their body, were sleeping for a longer period than those who were taking the placebo supplements.
This shows that the quality of sleep greatly improved for those taking the Vitamin D supplement.
So, if this experiment can be tested and proven enough for us to gather enough evidence to suggest that Vitamin D levels really does have an impact on the quality of sleep; and if sleep quality has such an impact on our wider health and well-beings, then this could be a profound step towards being able to use Vitamin D supplements to improve the length of sleep we can get, and the quality also. This could mean that it would lead to greater benefits for our general health, as well.
There are a few theories as to why higher Vitamin D levels result in better quality of sleep. They can reduce inflammatory cytokines that potentially interfere with sleep, and can interact directly with parts of the brain which regulate and mediate our sleep. This means that there may be clinical evidence which can be found to support the study.
As well as taking supplements, spending more time in the sun can result in greater Vitamin D levels. This can have a direct impact on our circadian rhythms which can play a huge role in the sleep that we get.
Because so much of our wider health and wellbeing can be affected by our sleep, it may well be that Vitamin D supplements, and spending a healthy amount of sun, can be beneficial to our sleep and welfare.