Insomnia is the difficulty in getting sleep or staying asleep for at least a month. It can lead to a tired feeling when you get up. Alcohol, anxiety, stress and coffee are some of the most common causes of the condition. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, a balanced diet, maintaining a regular sleep routine and managing anxiety can help treat insomnia. Certain vitamins and natural supplements may also help insomnia patients.
Vitamin A or retinol is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for healthy teeth, bones, skin and mucous membranes. An article published in the February 2006 edition of Science's STKE says retinoic acid, an active form of vitamin A, plays a major role in the regulation of several brain functions including sleep and memory. Vitamin A can be obtained from a diet rich in meat, eggs, poultry and dairy products. Synthetic supplements of vitamin A can also be purchased at most pharmacies, although dosage instructions should be carefully followed. Chronic overdose of the supplements can lead to bone pain, dizziness, headache and liver damage.
Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in metabolism and red blood cell formation. The deficiency of this vitamin can lead to a variety of conditions, including anemia, loss of balance and weakness. Natural News also says in an article published in October 2006 that vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause sleep disorders. It recommends 1.5mg to 3mg vitamin B-12 supplements daily to improve sleep quality, daytime alertness, increased concentration and improved mood. Apart from synthetic supplements, vitamin B-12 can also be obtained from foods such as eggs, meat, shellfish, poultry and dairy products.
Vitamins C and E
Vitamins C and E are antioxidant vitamins that have the ability to neutralize free radicals formed as a result of various metabolic processes in the body. This property of vitamins A and C, according to a study published in the October-December 2009 edition of the Indian Journal of Chest Diseases and Allied Sciences, helps relieve oxidative stress in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients. Supplementation with 100mg vitamin C and 400IU of vitamin E per day can improve sleep patterns considerably. However, overdose of vitamin C supplements can lead to upset stomach and diarrhea, and chronic overuse of vitamin E can increase the risk of death. Consult a doctor before taking these supplements. Another safe way to get vitamin C is from foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables. Foods such as nuts, olives, corn and wheat germ are rich and safe sources of vitamin E.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin required for growth, development and maintenance of healthy bones. Science Daily reported in April 2010 that new evidence presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology suggested that vitamin D deficiency can lead to chronic fatigue and sleeplessness in brain-damaged patients. Vitamin D deficiency can be avoided by eating dairy products, fish and oysters. The human body can also produce significant amounts of vitamin D via exposure to sunlight. People with limited sun exposure may consider taking synthetic supplements of the vitamin, although you should consult a physician before taking them. Overuse can lead to kidney stones, vomiting and muscle pain.
- "Science STKE: Signal transduction knowledge environment"; Retinoic acid signaling in the functioning brain.; Dräger UC; February 2006
- Natural News: Methylcobalamin nutrient offers solution for sleep disorders, mental alertness
- "Indian Journal of Chest Diseases and Allied Sciences"; Oxidative stress and obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome.; Singh TD et al; October-December 2009
- Science Daily: Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With Chronic Fatigue in Brain Injured Patients