We all know that getting the correct amount of shut eye each night is important, but did you know that your vitamin D intake can actually have an impact on your sleep habits? It’s true!
Studies have been conducted exploring the interaction between vitamin D deficiency and several sleep disorders, so if you’re finding it difficult to snooze, a vitamin deficiency could be to blame.
What is Vitamin D?
You’ve probably heard of vitamin D at an appointment with your doctor considering almost half of all Americans are deficient in it. It’s responsible for an array of bodily functions, and that’s why having the right amount is essential for your wellbeing.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It occurs naturally in some foods, and is sometimes added into others. If you’re not getting your vitamin D fix from foods, you should seek it as a dietary supplement -- such as a tasty gummy vitamin (wink wink).
If you’ve heard of vitamin D in association with the summer, that’s because it’s also produced by your body when ultraviolet (UV) rays hit your skin when it’s sunny outside. This is a process known as vitamin D synthesis. Still, it’s not easy to get enough vitamin D from simply spending time outside, so while this is a great way to supplement your vitamin D intake, it won’t be enough for most people -- even the most avid beach goer.
You might be wondering why exactly it’s so important to get sufficient vitamin D. This is because this vitamin is responsible for maintaining several parts of your body. For one, it allows your body to upkeep healthy teeth and bones. It can also help safeguard your immune health and aids in calcium absorption.
Vitamin D can also support your body by:
- Supporting brain, immune, and nervous system health
- Regulating normal insulin levels in the body
- Supporting cardiovascular health and lung function
Did you know that vitamin D plays a significant role with regulating calcium and maintaining phosphorus levels in your body, too? These are two factors that are essential to maintain health bones. In addition to this, your body requires vitamin D because it allows the intestines to stimulate and absorb calcium. It also helps you reclaim calcium that your kidneys would otherwise excrete.
If you’re wondering where you can get vitamin D through your diet, here are some foods that have vitamin D:
- Egg yolk
- Beef liver
- Fatty fish (this includes salmon, mackerel, and tuna)
- Fortified cereals and juices
- Fortified milk
As we mentioned earlier, another popular way to obtain vitamin D is by soaking in those rays. That being said, if you’re using sunscreen (which you always should, because the sun is powerful), you’re not going to be able to soak up as much vitamin D. This is why you’re going to need to supplement your intake in other ways -- whether that be by including foods with high vitamin D content in them in your diet, or by taking a supplement.
Supplements are quick and easy (not to mention tasty and highly concentrated), and we promise we’re not just saying that! You can easily include supplements into your daily wellness routine, and gummy vitamin D supplements make it easy to be motivated to pop your daily dose of goodness. This will help you get into the habit of taking these vitamins that have so many amazing benefits for your body!
You get the idea: vitamin D is essential for a whole host of bodily functions! For that reason exactly, it’s essential that you nourish yourself by getting the right amount of vitamin D.
All About Vitamin D Deficiency
If you’re worried that you’re vitamin D deficient, don’t panic! It’s estimated that approximately a billion people around the world are also deficient. Still, it’s important that you look for ways to boost your vitamin D so you don’t experience the negative side effects associated with being deficient.
First, let’s discuss the groups of people who have a higher risk of being vitamin D deficient. Just because you fall into one (or more) of these groups doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lacking vitamin D, but it does mean that if you have symptoms consistent with vitamin D deficient, you should consider looking into it.
You might be at risk of vitamin D deficiency if you:
- Spend most of your time in an office (you might not get enough sunshine)
- Live in a cold or dark climate
- Have darker skin (this has to do with how the skin processes vitamin D from the sun)
- Older adults (the body isn’t able to create vitamin D as effectively as you age)
- Have a variety of bodily conditions or ailments (speak with your doctor if you think this might be you)
- Are taking a medication that impacts vitamin D metabolism
But how are you to tell if you’re deficient? Luckily, there are some telltale signs to keep an eye out for. These signs can help clue you in that you’re lacking vitamin D.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
If you get sick or infected frequently: Because of the role that vitamin D plays in supporting the body’s immune function, getting sick a lot can help indicate that you’re not getting enough vitamin D.
If you’re often fatigued or tired: Vitamin D is often overlooked as a potential cause for fatigue, which is unfortunate, because it certainly is one. Of course there can be other causes for fatigue, but if you’re experiencing this in conjunction with other symptoms especially, this might be the cause.
If you’re experiencing bone or back pain: Vitamin D plays an important role in your body with promoting the absorption of calcium. If you’re experiencing bone or back pain, look into vitamin D as a potential cause.
- If your ability to heal is impaired: If you’re noticing that your body isn’t healing as well as it typically would, vitamin D might be the culprit. This is because studies suggest that the vitamin helps increase the creation of compounds that are helpful for your skin as it begins to heal from wounds.
Of course, it’s best to consult your doctor if you’re noticing that you have any or all of these symptoms. The best way to diagnose a deficiency is a simple blood test. Once you and your doctor have determined that this is the cause of your symptom, you can then move forward in treating it.
What’s the Interaction Between Sleep and Vitamin D?
First, let’s recap why sleep is so essential for your body. Sleep is actually just as necessary as eating healthy and exercising, but many people sacrifice it. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body suffers tremendously.
When you sleep, you offer your body a chance to repair itself and rest in preparation for another day. As a result, sleep supports cardiovascular health, bolsters the immune system, and can allow you to perform and concentrate better, amongst a slew of other benefits.
Clearly, both vitamin D and sleep are necessary to help maintain your body’s wellbeing. That’s why it is important you get enough of both of these crucial elements. But did you know that vitamin D intake can even impact your sleeping habits?
Vitamin D has in fact been linked to sleep quality. Several studies have indicated that those that have low vitamin D levels in the blood might be at higher risk for poorer sleep quality, sleep disturbances, and even sleeping for shorter periods of time.
If you’re noticing that you’re experiencing any of those things, you might want to consider looking into your vitamin D levels. Fixing your sleep cycle can start with taking a vitamin D supplement!
Getting a substantial amount of sleep is simply necessary to take care of yourself, so make sure you’re getting those zzz’s and your vitamin D deficiency isn’t to blame for difficulty sleeping. If you’re having trouble figuring out if you’re vitamin D deficient, getting blood taken at your doctor’s office can help give you the confirmation you need.
Your body needs vitamin D, just like your body needs sleep. And even more importantly, having lower levels of vitamin D can actually lead to difficulty sleeping.
Your body deserves a beautiful, restorative night of sleep -- make sure a vitamin D deficiency isn’t the one thing standing in your way from achieving that!