Are you always sleepy? Do you find that you are frequently tired no matter what time of the day it is? Other than sleep apnea, which we have touched base on before, there is a solution that might help you sleep better at night: Vitamin D. While you might already know that Vitamin D helps prevent depression, it can also help you get a better night’s sleep.
How it Works
There have been different reports of excessive sleepiness in people with low vitamin D levels that respond positively to supplemental vitamin D. Let’s look at it this way, vitamin D is a lot more than just a vitamin. It is actually a hormone that has far-reaching effects on many organs such as the brain, as well as the immune system.
Vitamin D is more of a sun hormone than it is a bone vitamin. The word vitamin means something a person’s body needs that can’t make it, so we must get it from food. Instead, D hormone is a chemical that we make on our skin from sun exposure. It is a hormone just like thyroid, estrogen or testosterone. Using the word hormone instead helps to remind us that it affects multiple parts of the body and that it is not “extra.” Vitamin D is essential to every cell in the body and it is not in food.
Low Vitamin D
When we are low on vitamin D it can really mess up our sleep. Many people experience the following when there is D hormone deficiency:
- Sleep disorders
- Sleep apnea
- REM related apnea
- Unexplained awakenings to light sleep
- Inappropriate body movements during sleep
Each disorder keeps us from healing our bodies during sleep, including the improvement of headaches, seizures, tremors and back pain.
And, when there is lack of or poor sleep, it can lead to hypertension, heart disease and stroke—all harmful side effects of sleep apnea, too. Vitamin D appears to affect our sleep cycles through D receptors in the lowest part of the brain called the “brainstem,” which is where we control the timing and paralysis of sleep. We sleep every night so that we can heal and make repairs. It is also during sleep that we make the chemicals that keep our blood pressure normal during the following day. When we have a lack of sleep that is when we begin to notice all the complications in our overall health.
Contact Craniofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on sleep and how vitamin D might help improve your sleep patterns.