Health Tips: Good Night, Sleep Tight

Research has shown that certain minerals can be effective natural sleeping aids to help us not only fall asleep but stay asleep through the night.

For an acute insomniac, getting a good night’s sleep is an everyday battle. Getting a good amount of sleep is incredibly important for your health, as sleep helps your body and brain function properly. A good night’s sleep can also boost your ability to learn as well as your memory, decision-making and even creativity. And what’s worse, getting insufficient sleep has been link to a higher risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

What Causes Insomnia?

There are a lot of factors that can cause sleeping problems, with the common culprits being stress, irregular sleep schedule, anxiety or depression. But little details in your surroundings can contribute too. For instance, a room that is too hot or cold, a bed that is uncomfortable, noise, alcohol or caffeine intake before sleep, jet lag, etc. For many people, a combination of these factors can initiate and exacerbate insomnia.

Which Sleep Aid Helps?

Sleep disorders are shockingly very common, and while how to achieve good sleep often starts with good sleep practices and habits, for some, that’s simply not enough. To that end, some people explore vitamins and supplements to help them achieve restful sleep. Sometimes, vitamin deficiencies can be a root cause of sleep disruption. That means that one or more of these nutrients may be all that’s standing between you and restorative rest.

For one, many people don’t know that vitamin C plays a significant role in boosting sleep health. Studies have shown that individuals with greater concentrations of vitamin C have better sleep than those with reduced concentrations. Vitamin D has also been associated with different measures of sleep. To be exact, low levels of vitamin D are associated with decreased sleep time, decreased sleep efficiency and increased daytime sleepiness. In short, if your vitamin D is low, you might sleep less and when you do sleep, it may be less efficient and less restful. Translation: You’ll be sleepy the next day.

Moving on, we come to melatonin, a hormone that your body produces naturally and signals your brain when it’s time to sleep. Time of day influences this hormone’s cycle of production and release. Put simply, melatonin levels naturally rise in the evening and fall in the morning as the body recognizes that it is time to wake up. For this reason, melatonin supplements have become a popular sleeping aid, particularly in times where the cycle is disrupted, such as when facing jet lag. Melatonin supplements may improve overall sleep quality, specifically by reducing the time people need to fall asleep and hence increasing the total amount of sleep time.

Magnesium is known to relax muscles and induce sleep, partly due to its ability to regulate the production of melatonin. In addition, magnesium may help quiet the mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep.
While most people understand that iron is essential, what they don’t realize is that iron is the ultimate oxygen transporter. So, when you don’t have enough, your sleep will be disrupted by RLS (restless leg syndrome), which in turn disrupts rest.

Next up is calcium, which is directly related to our cycles of sleep. A recent study found that a deficiency in calcium can lead to a disruption in your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. You may remember that REM is the most critical stage in the sleep cycle for dreams. Calcium helps the brain to use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin.

Vitamin B12 has also been note to have effects on sleep, but its role is interesting. It keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and but it also regulates sleep-wake cycles by helping to keep circadian rhythms in sync.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to taking vitamins, minerals and sleeping aids that might help you achieve a good night’ sleep, do your best to get most of your vitamins from a healthy, balanced diet rather than relying on supplements. Overdoing vitamin intake through a combination of multiple supplements may adversely affect sleep. And in addition to that, simple lifestyle changes can help as well. For example: meditation, deep breathing, or aromatherapy and essentials oils. Even simpler, go to bed and get up at the same time each day, including weekends. Limit your caffeine intake and create a dark, quiet, cool sleeping environment and don’t use any gadget for at least one hour before going to sleep. Last but not least, let your doctor know if your sleep troubles last for longer than two weeks.


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