At some point in their lives, most people have had issues falling asleep and staying asleep. Historically, some have tried warm milk or a shot of whiskey, but at the end of the day, being able to turn off and drift to sleep comes down to your chemistry and nutrition. Supplement manufacturers and nutritional product companies have worked hard to pinpoint the perfect formula for sound sleep, and many of the components that contribute to better sleep can be found in your kitchen and medicine cabinet.
Here are a few key sleep aid vitamins to keep around the house for restless nights:
Melatonin is very commonly associated with sleep, because it’s the hormone that determines sleep cycles. Because production of melatonin is affected by sunlight, levels tend to go up when night falls. While there are likely small amounts of melatonin in your diet already, many turn to pill, chewable, or liquid supplements to support healthier sleep patterns.
If you’ve ever taken a nap after Thanksgiving dinner, you have probably already experienced the effects of tryptophan. This essential amino acid supports healthy sleep habits by helping your body make niacin and, subsequently, serotonin. Though your body doesn’t make tryptophan naturally, nutritional product manufacturers have helped keep this beneficial supplement on the shelf, and it’s prevalent in eggs, poultry, and sweet potatoes.
While melatonin may be the core sleep aid, magnesium supports your body’s ability to create melatonin, helping you keep in tune with your body’s natural sleep habits. It also benefits muscle tension and helps your body relax, which leads to better sleep. You can get a healthy dose of magnesium from leafy greens, nuts, and pumpkin seeds.
Deficiency in vitamin D is extremely common in the United States, and a lack of vitamin D in the body seems to leave the door open for all sorts of diseases and disorders. In fact, a recent study suggested that low levels of vitamin D were linked to poor sleep quality. If you think you may be struggling with sleep due to low vitamin D, talk to your doctor about how to best supplement your diet.
An iron deficiency can be linked to people with restless leg syndrome, which causes discomfort in the legs while falling asleep. Though taking an iron supplement daily may be more of a preventative measure, you should still aim to get plenty of iron in your regular diet and supplement if your diet lacks iron or if your doctor recommends it.