5 Key Minerals & Vitamins
5 Key Minerals and Vitamins for a Good Night’s Sleep
Some theories about the body’s sleep patterns suggest our diet and the food we eat are contributing factors to our quality of sleep. Foods full of minerals and vitamins are the basic components of a healthy diet and it is thought that these foods may also help us sleep better.
In this article we outline 5 key minerals and vitamins that may help you get a better night’s sleep:
Lack of potassium can lead to difficulty staying asleep throughout the night. Foods that are high in potassium include bananas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (homemade paste and puree is best), beetroot leaves, all beans, yogurt, seafood, prunes, carrots, squash, and oranges.
Magnesium promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation. A study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that when the body’s magnesium levels are too low, it makes it harder to stay asleep. In magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms.
Magnesium rich foods include nuts such as almonds, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, bananas, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, avocado, fish and wholegrains like barley, couscous and buckwheat.
Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. Calcium is a natural relaxant and has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Research has linked difficulty falling asleep to a lack of calcium.
Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are a well-known source of Calcium. Other sources are kale, seaweeds (kelp), nuts and seeds (almonds and sesame), beans, oranges, broccoli, and fortified products, such as soy milk.
A lack of B Vitamins in your diet may be affecting your sleep:
- Vitamin B3 (also known as Niacin) has been shown to promote REM sleep and may help people who fall asleep rapidly but keep waking up during the night. Some studies show that Vitamin B3 may also help people who have insomnia caused by depression.
- Vitamin B6 helps the body to produce serotonin, which is known as the “calming hormone” and influences melatonin the sleep inducing hormone.
- Vitamin B5 is good for relieving stress and anxiety and deficiency may cause sleep disturbances and fatigue.
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid) deficiency has been linked to insomnia.
- Vitamin B12 may help insomniacs who have problems falling asleep, as well as promoting normal sleep-awake cycles.
Good food sources of B Vitamins include liver, kidney, fish, milk, egg, nutritional yeast (brewer’s yeast), avocado, wheat germ, chickpeas, and blackstrap molasses.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to excessive daytime sleepiness and difficulties with sleep. Vitamin D is found in very few foods with our main source being sunlight. Fatty fish including salmon and tuna, beef liver, cooked egg yolks and some mushrooms contain low levels of Vitamin D.