The right amount of sleep is so important.
Not only does it help your body and brain function properly, but sleep contributes to your overall health and your body's ability to repair and restore itself.
A healthy lifestyle can massively improve your sleep quality, and you can absorb many of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for productive sleeping patterns through a healthy diet.
However, if you're looking for vitamins and minerals to help you sleep, it's important to learn which ones are essential before deciding how much of each you need if you're planning on supplementing them.
In this guide, we're focusing on the four key vitamins and minerals to help aid sleep to help you drift off peacefully every night.
Table of contents:
What vitamins should I take to help me sleep?
What are the best natural sleep aids?
What vitamins should I take to help me sleep?
If you want to improve your quality and quantity of sleep, you should always look at your diet before adding any supplements.
Alongside this, lifestyle changes such as introducing exercise, limiting screen time and reducing the amount of caffeine you consume per day can all assist in developing a healthier sleeping pattern and more restful sleep for longer periods.
Although a healthy diet and lifestyle can improve sleep, getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs from diet alone is not always easy. If you're doing the right things but still struggling to grab forty winks, you may need to look at your intake of certain vitamins and minerals to see if you're getting enough.
Here are the key vitamins and minerals we think help best with sleeping and how you can add more of them into your diet:
Vitamin D intake is vital in how well and how long we sleep.
To fully grasp the role played by Vitamin D, it's important to understand the body's circadian clock.
Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles in the body that carry out necessary functions and processes as part of its internal clock - one of the most important of these rhythms is our wake and sleep cycle.
Because Vitamin D is created naturally in the body when the skin absorbs sunlight, Vitamin D helps to aid this circadian rhythm to keep the body's clock and sleep cycles running in sync. When this happens and the processes run in sync, the body will benefit from more consistent, peaceful and restorative sleep. Still, when these processes are thrown off, problems like insomnia can occur.
Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to a reduced sleep duration - so it's important to get plenty if you're hoping for a deep, long, restful sleep.
To improve your Vitamin D levels, your body needs just 10 minutes of exposure to the sun per day (remember to protect your skin from its harmful UV rays by wearing sunscreen). Vitamin D is also present in fatty fish such as salmon and tuna and fortified foods, including cereals, fresh orange juice, or Vitamin D supplements.
If taking Vitamin D supplements, you shouldn't need a dosage of more than 10mcg (micrograms) per day and should never take more than 100mcg per day, as long-term overdosing could lead to problems with your kidneys and heart.
B vitamins are important as they help the body produce tryptophan, an amino acid that converts into serotonin to help regulate its melatonin levels, the body's sleep hormone. A lack of Vitamin B6 is linked to depression and insomnia through unregulated serotonin levels and melatonin.
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is also involved in many functions in the body, including immune health, function and cognitive development. Vitamin B6 also helps the body to form haemoglobin, a substance found in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body.
Also helping the body to store vital protein and carbohydrates from foods, Vitamin B6 is a real hero and an important part of our everyday lives that should be relatively easy to absorb from a healthy diet.
You can find Vitamin B6 in poultry, pork, fish, soya beans, peanuts, bananas, milk, fortified breakfast cereals and oats. If you'd rather take vitamin B supplements, be careful with your dosage, taking no more than 10mg of vitamin B6 per day unless otherwise instructed by a health professional.
Magnesium is a human body hero. Used in hundreds of processes, it's the mineral that helps the brain function, assists heart health and turns food into energy.
When it comes to sleeping, much like vitamin B6, magnesium helps to regulate melatonin production, so your body knows exactly when to sleep and increases the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, a chemical in the brain that boosts relaxation and sleep.
Easily found in a healthy diet, foods such as spinach, leafy greens, nuts and wholemeal bread all contain good magnesium levels. Most magnesium supplements contain other sleep-promoting agents, such as low levels of melatonin and glycerine, which can all work together to improve your quality of sleep and the amount of sleep you have. Just remember to stay within the daily guidelines of 350mg (any more than that could cause problems such as diarrhoea).
These Magnesium Supplements from Effectiv Nutrition also contain Vitamin B6 and Zinc, all known for their sleep-promoting qualities.
Not only does calcium promote teeth and bone health, but it also combines with tryptophan to produce melatonin - essential for sleep.
Found in dairy products such as milk and cheese, leafy greens, bread and fish with soft bones such as salmon, it's not difficult to take in the correct calcium levels as part of your healthy, balanced diet.
However, you can also take calcium supplements to increase that all-important melatonin, and you should aim for around 700 mg per day from your diet. Avoid taking more than 1500 mg daily, as this could lead to stomach pain and diarrhoea.
What are the best natural sleep aids?
Now you know the best vitamins and minerals to keep in check for long, restless sleep, there are some other supplements and natural remedies you can take to help enhance your sleeping regime.
Whilst these aren't essential supplements, they may assist with relaxation if the usual methods aren't doing a great job.
As we've already discussed, melatonin is essential as it is our sleep hormone and helps our bodies to dictate when we should be asleep and awake.
However, it isn't essential to take melatonin supplements. Still, they are worth mentioning. Although they can't be bought over the counter at a pharmacy, they are something your healthcare professional can prescribe if you're having issues with your sleeping patterns or struggling with insomnia.
Natural melatonin in the body rises in the evening when it's time to sleep to signal that it's time to rest. If the natural cycle is disrupted, it can be difficult to sleep, for example, due to jet lag or if you're someone who works a night shift.
Melatonin supplements help to reduce the time it takes to get to sleep and can be prescribed on a short-term basis to help normalise your circadian rhythm. However, the dosage should never exceed 10mg.
Glycine can sometimes be found alongside other sleep-promoting supplements and is an amino acid which plays an important role in the nervous system.
Good glycine levels help the body drop in temperature at nighttime to signal that it's time to sleep, help with fatigue following a night's sleep and improve your sleep quality.
Glycine can be found naturally in bananas, kiwi, spinach, cabbage, kale, beans, legumes, meat, fish and poultry, so if you want to improve your sleep quality, make sure to add more of these to your daily diet.
Chamomile contains an antioxidant known as apigenin, which works on your brain receptors to promote a sense of calm and help you fall asleep. This is why chamomile tea is loved as a calming drink before bedtime.
Chamomile is natural and perfectly safe, but it can react with some prescribed medicines, so always check with your GP if you're taking any medicines before adding any chamomile products into your daily routine.
4. Valerian Root
Valerian is a herb native to Europe and Asia, and Valerian root is commonly used to aid symptoms of anxiety, depression and menopause, as well as to promote sleep.
Valerian root may raise levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid to boost relaxation and aid sleep. Still, as studies are mixed, although commonly used as a herbal treatment, there's not enough concrete evidence to suggest that it makes a difference in sleeping quality.
Although it can have some mild effects, such as nausea, it is safe to take on a short-term basis.
5. Lavender oil
To be inhaled, not ingested, the pure scent of lavender oil can aid mild insomnia and help you relax and unwind. To try its sleep-boosting qualities for yourself, invest in a lavender pillow spray, or add lavender essential oils to your bath or aromatherapy oil burner.
Now you're armed with all the knowledge to improve your sleep, here are a few takeaways to remember. Vitamins D, B6, magnesium and calcium, can all help to improve your sleep, but it's important to look at your diet first for ways to improve your intake before you rely on supplements.
For the areas of your diet where you find it difficult to add these essentials, taking supplements can give you the boost you need to aid your body's natural functions, processes and sleeping patterns. Always stay within recommended daily amounts and consult your GP if you have any questions or concerns before adding any new supplements into your diet.
Then, plenty of helpful, natural aids, such as chamomile and lavender, can help boost relaxation alongside a healthy diet and routine for restful sleeping, night after night!
Explore our collection of sleep-promoting supplements by shopping the links above to help transform your sleeping pattern, or explore our complete well-being range, for all the essentials to enhance your healthy diet and lifestyle. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us, where our helpful team will be on hand to offer you support and guidance with your purchases.