Medically reviewed by
Dacelin St Martin, MD
Triple board-certified in Sleep Medicine,
Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics.
Virtually everyone knows that their diet contributes immensely to their physical health. A healthy diet prevents diseases, protects the body, and helps one recover from illnesses and injuries. It also provides the nutrients needed for bodybuilding and metabolism.
Research shows that eating habits influence mental health, which is especially true for your sleep. Healthy eating habits mean you eat food with the major nutrients in the right proportion and an adequate amount of micronutrients.
Succinctly, healthy eating habits mean longer and more quality sleep. Emerging research has linked sleep with micronutrient adequacy. This article will highlight a fantastic study and some crucial micronutrients for optimal sleep.
In one study, American scientists linked poor sleep (i.e., sleep less than 7 hours) with insufficient micronutrient intake. The research analyzed the health information of thousands of Americans who had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2005 to 2016.
In-home interviews were conducted with participants to collect demographic, socioeconomic, and other health information. Afterward, the study participants had an extensive medical exam at a mobile medical center closest to their location. The researchers also assessed the volunteers’ sleep and level of micronutrient consumption.
The researchers then analyzed the bio-data of the participants alongside their sleep patterns and level of micronutrient intake. The result was astounding.
The study demonstrated a significant association between poor sleep and intake of food lacking in vital micronutrients like iron, copper, folate, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K, etc. This finding brings to the forefront the potential need for supplementing food with these essential micronutrients, which can help to make up for food deficits and improve sleep.
The result of this study was supported by the findings of another study, which reviewed 26 articles. The study supported the hypothesis that micronutrients play a potential role in the length of one’s sleep. Sleep duration is positively associated with blood levels of iron, zinc, and magnesium and negatively associated with blood levels of copper, potassium, and vitamin B12.
Which Micronutrients Promote Sleep?
Many vitamins and minerals are associated with sleep. Some micronutrients that influence sleep include:
1. Vitamin C
Many people are aware of vitamin C’s advantages for their immunity. But few people know of vitamin C’s important role in improving sleep quality. According to several studies, people with higher blood levels of vitamin C tend to have better sleep quality than those with reduced vitamin blood concentration. These individuals may also be more capable of withstanding the effects of a few nights of sleep deprivation.
2. Vitamin D
It’s estimated that 41 percent of people in the United States suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. This finding suggests that many people may be at risk for having poor sleep quality, sleeping for shorter amounts of time, and having extended sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep). There is still much mystery surrounding the precise mechanisms by which vitamin D controls sleep patterns. However, experts have suggested that Vitamin D receptors in the brainstem may regulate sleep. Vitamin D may also help control melatonin, the primary sleep hormone.
Iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent and severe micronutrient deficiencies. It’s the most common trace element. Studies have linked sufficient iron intake with improved sleep quality. Similar studies have also associated iron deficiency with many sleep problems. These sleep disorders include restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea. Iron has been shown to improve symptoms of restless legs syndrome. It’s worth noting that vitamin C improves the absorption of iron into the bloodstream. So, supplementing with iron and vitamin C tablets may benefit people with restless legs syndrome.
Zinc is your body’s second most abundant mineral, right behind iron. It has a potent antioxidant effect and is a vital mineral for DNA synthesis, cellular metabolism, and immune function.
Furthermore, experts believe that zinc may also aid one’s ability to sleep . According to recent studies, dietary zinc can shorten the time it takes for someone to fall asleep while also lengthening their sleep and making it more effective.
Experts have suggested magnesium supplementation can improve sleep quality and duration.. It accomplishes this by activating neurotransmitters, which assist the brain in entering a state of relaxation so that it is better prepared for rest. A reduction in the level of magnesium in the bloodstream almost invariably causes insomnia or makes it significantly worse.
The Bottom Line
Micronutrients are indispensable to our overall health. They improve the immune function of our bodies while also assisting us in falling asleep at night. Optimizing your diet with micronutrient supplements may be beneficial if you have trouble falling or staying asleep at night.
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