Does Vitamin D Promote Healthy Sleep?

women residents sitting outside
Older adults often have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Several factors may interfere with getting a good night’s sleep:
  • changes in routine after retirement
  • side effect of prescription medications
  • stress and worries
  • trips to the bathroom
  • pain from chronic health conditions
Could the answer to getting a more restful night’s sleep lie in vitamin D?
Researchers say it just might.

Study Links Vitamin D and Sleep

Newer evidence shows that there may be a link between vitamin D and sleep quality. A recent study used wrist sensors to measure the quality of sleep on a sampling of men over the age of 68.

A score of 85 percent or above represents a good night’s sleep.
What the study found was that men with a vitamin D deficiency, which occurred in 16 percent of the participants, scored lower for sleep quality. In fact, a vitamin D deficiency increased the odds of a sleep score below 70 percent. 

Vitamin D Deficiency: The Latest Health Problem

More than 50 percent of Americans may have a vitamin D deficiency. The problem has been labeled as a pandemic by academic researchers.

Growing concerns about skin cancer has driven Americans to cover up and use sunscreen when out in the sun. This is smart skin cancer prevention measure. But sunlight helps the body synthesize vitamin D.  Protecting ourselves from the sun has led to a shortage of this essential nutrient in many people.

How Much Vitamin D Do We Need?

Of course, it’s always best to obtain nutrients from natural sources. Foods rich in vitamin D include:
  • Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables
  • Cod liver oil
  • Cold-water fish such as salmon
But sometimes diet isn’t enough. Then it becomes necessary to turn to vitamin D supplements.
Medical professionals disagree on the amount of vitamin D people need to stay healthy. Some recommend supplementing with at least 800 to 1000 IU of vitamin D daily.  Others say it’s okay to counteract a deficiency with an initial dosage of 4,000 IU daily.

It’s best to talk with your family doctor to have your vitamin D levels tested before beginning a course of supplements. They can recommend the right dose of vitamin D to both eliminate the deficiency and to maintain sufficient levels thereafter.

Vitamin D to Improve Sleep Quality

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to health problems ranging from osteoarthritis to depression. With the latest research now pointing to a vitamin D deficiency negatively affecting sleep, it might make you think you should load up on the supplement right before bed.

Not so, say some experts. Vitamin D is also inversely related to the sleep hormone melatonin. This makes sense, because, if we are getting our vitamin D naturally with help from the sun, we are synthesizing it during the day. So it’s usually better to take vitamin D supplements in the morning.

Five Star Senior Living
A supportive environment with healthy meals and a wellness program can also help your or the senior you love get a good night’s sleep. Call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you to learn more!