Difficulty sleeping, both in falling asleep and in staying asleep may be related to a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is made by the body in response to exposure to UV light. During the winter, vitamin D levels fall as the length of the day shortens and people wear more and thicker clothing, with less of their skin exposed to the sun.

Numerous scientific studies have looked at the association between vitamin D and sleep quality, and virtually all of them come to a similar conclusion: vitamin D deficiency adversely affects sleep quality. The message is a hopeful one however because vitamin D supplementation is also associated with an improvement in sleep quality.

Huang, et. al. (2013)1 studied a group of US veterans with chronic pain and vitamin D deficiency. They found that supplementation with a standardized supplement of vitamin D improved pain levels, sleep, and quality of life. Just prior to this publication, Gominak and Stumpf2 published that in a 2 year trial of vitamin D supplementation in 1500 patients who had complained of abnormal sleep, that by achieving a blood level of 60-80 ng/mL (what is considered to be optimal), that most patients had improvement in sleep.

Other conditions related to vitamin D deficiency can also either directly or indirectly affect sleep quality. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) was found to be worse in vitamin D deficient patients3, and further, it was found that vitamin D deficiency was more common among RLS patients. In a study performed by Young, SJ, et. al. (2017)4 in which workers in an electronics factory in Korea were tested for vitamin D levels, it was found that there was a “significant correlation” between serum vitamin D deficiency and poor sleep quality. Further, there is a strong correlation between vitamin D levels, poor sleep quality, and chronic pain5.

Fortunately, these sleep disturbances are able to be treated by addressing the underlying problem: vitamin D deficiency. Majid, MS, et. al. (2017)6 found that taking a vitamin D supplement improves sleep quality, improves sleep latency, and improves sleep duration in the studied population (20-50-year-olds with a sleep disorder).

The takeaway message is many people with problems affecting their sleep: duration, quality, or latency (the amount of time between going to bed and falling asleep), are suffering from an underlying vitamin D deficiency and that by correcting this deficiency with supplementation, sleep quality, duration and latency may be improved. Call Dr. Press at (201) 569-1444 for a nutritional consultation today!

1. Huang W, Shah S, Long Q, Crankshaw AK, Tangpricha V. Improvement of pain, sleep, and quality of life in chronic pain patients with vitamin D supplementation.Clin J Pain. 2013 Apr;29(4):341-7. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e318255655d. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22699141

2. Gominak SC, Stumpf WE. The world epidemic of sleep disorders is linked to vitamin D deficiency. Med Hypotheses. 2012 Aug;79(2):132-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.03.031. Epub 2012 May 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22583560

3. Çakır T, Doğan G, Subaşı V, Filiz MB, Ülker N, Doğan ŞK, Toraman NF. An evaluation of sleep quality and the prevalence of restless leg syndrome in vitamin D deficiency. Acta Neurol Belg. 2015 Dec;115(4):623-7. doi: 10.1007/s13760-015-0474-4. Epub 2015 Apr 23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25904436

4. Young Saeng Jung, Chang Ho Chae, Young Ouk Kim, Jun Seok Son, Chan Woo Kim, Hyoung Ouk Park, Jun Ho Lee, Young Hoo Shin, and Ho Sung Kwak. The relationship between serum vitamin D levels and sleep quality in fixed day indoor field workers in the electronics manufacturing industry in Korea. Ann Occup Environ Med. 2017; 29: 25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5482959/

5. de Oliveira DL, Hirotsu C, Tufik S, Andersen ML. The interfaces between vitamin D, sleep and pain. J Endocrinol. 2017 Jul;234(1):R23-R36. doi: 10.1530/JOE-16-0514. Epub 2017 May 23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28536294

6. Majid MS, Ahmad HS, Bizhan H, Mohammad Hosein HZ, Mohammad A. The effect of vitamin D supplement on the score and quality of sleep in 20-50 year-old people with sleep disorders compared with control group. Nutr Neurosci. 2017 May 5:1-9. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1317395. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28475473