Can Vitamin D Improve Your Sleep? – Yahoo Health
(Photo: Bailey Weaver)
Although subtle, more than half of the world population is vitamin D deficient!
This is a big problem because sleep disorders are an epidemic due to vitamin D deficiency. This hurts the amount of sleep you get, the quality of your sleep, and your mood upon waking up.
We have this deficiency because of the way we live. We work inside, wear clothes, and use sunscreen. These are all realities of modern life, and they all take away from our vitamin D synthesis.
This is important to note, because you do not soak up D from the sun, per se. Rather, the interaction with UVB light and a cholesterol derivative in the skin causes D to be synthesized in the body.
While many of us wish we could quit our jobs and move to the Bahamas to soak in the rays we need, that is not realistic for most. As biohackers, it is our job to find a solution.
Eating foods rich in vitamin D, and supplementing with D3 is a necessary part of life to maintain adequate D levels.
However, simply taking a ton of vitamin D is not the complete answer in the long run for preventing vitamin D deficiency. Too much or too little can have side effects, including reducing the quality of your sleep. The amount of International Units (IU) you take and time of day are important aspects in upgrading the amount and quality of your sleep.
Your Daily Dosage of Vitamin D
According to the Vitamin D Council, 1000 IU’s per 25lbs are recommended each day, although using a blood test is the best way to know your ideal dose. A healthy human body utilizes about 3000-5000 IU of vitamin D per day.
These amounts are adjusted according to your age, weight, absorption, skin color and normal sun exposure. So when you are outside with adequate sun exposure, use no sunscreen but put on a shirt or a hat once you’ve spent enough time with your skin exposed, and leave the Vitamin D supplements at home. More is not always better. If you’re concerned about the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer risk, talk to your doctor about what’s safe for you.
Too much vitamin D can cause headaches and inflammation in the body. The US Government’s upper intake level (UL) for vitamin D is set at 4,000 IU per day. Other experts disagree, the current consensus states it should be 10,000 IU. This is the amount your skin would naturally produce from maximum exposure from the sun. An even better way to figure out what your optimal vitamin D levels are, is through testing your body’s responses.
As more research is being done on D, we are just beginning to find out the importance of the dosage of vitamin D. Additionally with the amount you take, the time you take vitamin D is a crucial factor in upgrading your sleep.
Are You Taking Vitamin D at the Right Time?
Vitamin D is inversely related to melatonin, your sleep hormone, so it makes sense that taking it at night disrupts sleep. I’ve noticed this effect personally. For this reason, there is no reason to take vitamin D at night.
An n=1 experiment done by gwern.net also concludes that taking vitamin D in the morning is best. Using a ZEO, his morning dose of D increased REM, deep sleep, and number of hours increased. He looked at taking the same dosage at night, and his sleep quality plummeted.
Related: The Exact Time You Should Go To Bed
My biohacking experiments have similar results. When I’ve taken D in the morning I had my usual great sleep. When I’ve taken D at night, I had a restless night.
In our busy worlds, healthy sleep is gold. If we do not receive the right amounts of vitamin D, sleep suffers. If you live a stressful life, sleep is even more important.
There are other reasons to take it too. In a study with chronic pain patients, vitamin D helped reduce pain, improve quality of life, and increase sleep. Having adequate levels of D may protect against cancer, control inflammation, heart disease, poor mood, and may help regulate the immune system. Most people are vitamin D deficient, and do not know how it can help improve their lives.
Start hacking your performance and life with Vitamin D
If you are unsure of where to start, there are a few options. You might go to your doctor and find out where your vitamin D levels are right now. Better yet, use WellnessFX for testing and advice. You can search online for other self testing labs.