7 best vitamins for sleep

Vitamins are needed for energy, recovery, and even sleep. Here are the most important vitamins and minerals to help you sleep well every night.
7 Best Vitamins for Sleep
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The blueprint for deep, restful sleep can’t be summarized in one sentence, especially in a world with so many people suffering from poor sleep. Between overstimulation, jet lag, and more serious sleep disorders, it’s increasingly rare to find someone who sleeps soundly every night.

Instead of reaching for melatonin supplements and synthetic sleep solutions, there are many natural sleep forms of sleep support to be found in the realm of vitamins and minerals. If you don’t know which vitamins are best for sleep, it’s time to learn — they might just make a huge difference.

Let’s look at the top vitamins and minerals that can promote sleep duration and reduce sleep disturbances. We want you to rediscover good sleep habits naturally, and today, we’re showing you the path to get there. 

What are vitamins?

Vitamins are organic, naturally occurring compounds that serve various biochemical processes in the human body. As micronutrients, they play a different role than macronutrients like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Instead, vitamins work on a cellular level, promoting activity like cellular development, immune resistance, DNA maintenance, energy production, and more. 

We get vitamins from a range of natural sources, but many compounds are also supplemented to fill in dietary gaps. If you plan to use vitamins and minerals to help with sleep, for example, you are likely deficient in one or more of these compounds and may need to address these shortcomings with capsules or liquid vitamin formats.

It’s also worth noting that many vitamin deficiencies happen due to a lack of nutrients in modern food, even foods that are traditionally rich in micronutrients such as fruits and veggies. While you should always aim to get the majority of your vitamins and minerals from real food, supplementation in today’s world is often out of necessity, even with a balanced diet in place.

Finally, for our purposes in this article, we’ll be putting essential minerals into the same category as vitamins. While minerals are inorganic elements rather than organic compounds, they are often included in vitamin supplement products and interact with the body in similar ways. Keep in mind that both vitamins and minerals are important not only for sleep, but a broad range of functions and overall well-being.

Why are vitamins and minerals key to sleep?

Whether you’re looking at fat-soluble vitamins or inorganic mineral compounds, these micronutrients are central to sleep and the conditions required for total recovery. Even though they’re needed in only small quantities, just a few milligrams can be the difference between a rejuvenating night of sleep and a frustrating night of interruptions. 

We’ll explore the details of how each vitamin relates to sleep as we continue, but here, let’s look at some general concepts that can help us make sense of their roles. 

Firstly, vitamins and minerals are key to the production and management of neurotransmitters in the brain. Not only do neurotransmitters govern our sleep-wake cycles, but they also promote relaxation, calm, and balance within the body — all factors that make or break a good night’s sleep.

Next, certain vitamins and minerals are involved in energy metabolism, especially B vitamins. You might not think energy levels are required for sleep, but in fact, cellular energy production is necessary to rebuild tissue and consolidate memories while you’re sleeping at night. The same principle applies to stress management, which vitamins and minerals also promote. Because we carry stress from the day into our nightly sleep, a calm nervous system can navigate sleep stages more freely.

As we piece together the big picture of sleep, we see that vitamins and minerals are true role players — none should be left out of the equation.

What are the best vitamins for sleep?

Our overview of vitamins and minerals for sleep put us on the right track for understanding their functions, but now it’s time to get into specifics. Here, we’ll outline exactly how each compound serves the body’s ability to sleep, and why you may want to make them part of your supplementation strategy.

1. Vitamin D

From one study to the next, sleep experts always put vitamin D at the top of their list of essential sleep supplements, but why? Vitamin D is generally known as the “sunshine vitamin” so its relation to sleep might not be obvious — however, because of the connection between sun exposure, circadian rhythm, and the sleep-wake cycle, vitamin D is a top priority in the realm of sleep.

Vitamin D is a powerhouse in the production of key neurotransmitters like serotonin and melatonin. This means that instead of using over-the-counter melatonin supplements, you may want to shift your focus to the root source of the hormone, which is adequate vitamin D, and sun exposure, which helps the body produce its own.

Vitamin D has also been shown to be linked to a healthy immune system, which plays an indirect role in rest and replenishment. The body doesn’t stop fighting pathogens to protect itself during sleep, which is why immune maintenance is so important for effective sleep patterns.

2. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, assists in the production of key neurotransmitters that boost sleep quality. Serotonin is the most notable, helping to regulate mood and alleviate some of the mental stress that sometimes comes with falling asleep. With healthy levels of serotonin, you may find that sleep latency — the time it takes to fall asleep — improves, along with your sleep duration.

Additionally, B6 is key to the conversion of an amino acid known as tryptophan. As a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, tryptophan can support the proper production of these neurotransmitters and make them more available for the brain to utilize before and during sleep.

Meanwhile, B6 helps maintain balanced levels of these hormones throughout the body, ensuring they are managed properly and used correctly. Along with stress reduction and energy regulation, B6 plays a big part in your efforts to sleep well. 

3. Vitamin B12

We typically think of B12 as an energy-production compound, but as we know, energy is a subtle part of sleep and recovery that’s often overlooked. 

Specifically, B12 helps metabolize macronutrients you get from food, ensuring these nutrients are well processed and converted to energy as you sleep. As a result, you might wake up feeling more energized and refreshed thanks to B12, while a shortage of this vitamin may leave you groggy or tired.

At the same time, B12 is part of the body’s innate mood and stress management system, helping neurotransmitters work to keep your energy and outlook bright. Those deficient in B12 may feel more upbeat and positive after supplementing with a B-complex vitamin, likely due to the support for neurotransmitter production and stress relief.

Don’t underestimate the role of mental well-being and mood when it comes to sleep. When you feel better, you sleep better, so make sure your B12 intake is up to par.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium is an elemental mineral that deserves a place on this list, with involvement in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Many have found that magnesium is a major difference-maker in their efforts to improve sleep, so it might be a good place to start. It’s highly recommended if you experience issues like restlessness or muscle tension, as magnesium can help relax muscles and reduce tension around joints.

In addition to relaxing properties, magnesium can help convert tryptophan to serotonin and also reduce some of the mental stress that some experience before bed. Because magnesium comes in many supplementary formats, choose a form that is known to help with healthy sleep, such as magnesium glycinate. 

5. Zinc

Zinc is involved in dozens of physiological processes, including the production of key neurotransmitters that help with sleep. Once again, mood regulation is the main event, and zinc helps the nervous system properly receive a steady flow of feel-good chemicals throughout the night to keep your sleep on track. 

Zinc is also an immune system all-star, ensuring both innate and active immunity mechanisms remain strong and ready to pounce against pathogens. With support for the immune system and hormone regulation, you can rely on zinc to keep these crucial background processes in the body working the way they should as you sleep. 

Like other minerals, zinc doesn’t directly promote deeper sleep, but instead helps the body maintain inner balance to keep sleep easy and sustainable.

6. Iron

Another trace element with a reputation as a natural sleep supporter, iron is similar to zinc in its composition and functions in the body. While B vitamins and other minerals are metabolic energy boosters, iron’s key advantage is in oxygen transportation and delivery. 

The body relies heavily on oxygen flow at night, even though we’re at rest. This supports cognitive function and memory consolidation during stage 3 sleep and REM and may help you wake up feeling more refreshed. 

As a bonus, iron helps support immune health and can ease restlessness, helping to reduce tossing and turning through the night. If you keep waking up tired despite getting enough hours of sleep, iron could be the missing link in your sleep strategy — be sure to supplement if necessary.

7. Potassium

As one of the most important electrolytes in the body, potassium plays a role in sleep that shouldn’t be discounted. With enough potassium, you can drink less water but still stay hydrated thanks to heightened levels of electrolytes and better neurological function that it affects.

Potassium might not transform your sleep quality overnight, but with consistent and proper hydration, you’ll find that everything works better, sleeping or awake.

Honorable mentions: Herbs, essential oils, and hemp

Since we’ve focused strictly on vitamins and minerals in this article, we shouldn’t conclude without mentioning some useful plant-based sleep aids to go along with these micronutrients.

Plants like valerian root, chamomile, lavender, and others can further increase the quality of your sleep and help these various compounds work as they should. It’s also worth adding hemp extracts designed specifically for sleep, such as those in our CBD for sleep collection. These formulas include high-quality hemp with an emphasis on CBN, not to mention other powerful plants with sleep-supporting properties.

Vitamins and minerals can go a long way to help you sleep, but a hemp supplement can truly make a big difference in sleep quality and overall well-being.

The bottom line

With so much discussion around diet and macronutrient profiles, it’s easy to forget that vitamins do a lot of the heavy lifting in processes like sleep. From neurotransmitter production to stress reduction and tension management, you won’t want to miss the benefits that these vitamins and minerals deliver each night.

Sunmed is here to help you get back on track with sleep, with our Supergreens Daily Gummies containing most recommended daily averages of the vitamins we discussed today. As your sleep journey continues, remember to stay on top of supplementation and don’t neglect the other aspects of sleep hygiene required for a well-rounded plan. 

Sources:

Vitamin D Supplementation and Sleep: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Intervention Studies | NIH

Efficacy of dietary supplements on improving sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis | NIH

Sleep Quality: A Narrative Review on Nutrition, Stimulants, and Physical Activity as Important Factors | NIH

Medical Causes of Sleep Problems | Help Guide

Using Magnesium for Better Sleep | Sleep Foundation