We’ve all experienced bad nights of sleep and felt off the next day… you can't think clearly, you move slower, you aren’t as alert, and you may even feel like you can't stop eating.
New research shows that getting less than five hours of sleep is the same as driving drunk. A study done by AAA found that drivers who had slept for less than 4 hours, 4-5 hours, 5-6 hours, and 6-7 hours in the past 24 hours were 11.5x’s, 4.3x’s, 1.9x’s, and 1.3x’s likelier to crash, respectively, than drivers who had slept for seven or more of the past 24 hours.
Studies have found our immune responses decrease, our metabolism slows down, blood pressure increases, and we have a higher risk of diabetes, heart attack and heart failure when we don’t continuously get enough sleep.
Getting quality sleep is essential to being healthy and feeling your best!
Supplements can really help support healthy sleep, but they can also impair our sleep quality when taken at the wrong time.
So why does supplement timing matter anyway?
When we give our body vitamins and minerals in the form of supplements, they go do specific jobs in the body. By understanding what these supplements do, we can time them in the most “natural way” to avoid any sleep disruptions.
It's estimated that 46% of American adults are deficient in vitamin D…
This vitamin is essential for our immune system, hormone production, bone production / maintenance, cardiovascular health, and cognitive health!
Vitamin D comes from the sun, however sunscreen and clothing block the absorption.
Taking Vitamin D supplementation is part of my daily routine, and always will be, however timing is imperative.
Vitamin D naturally comes from the sun which means that your body would naturally absorb this during daylight.
Several recent studies associate low levels of vitamin D in your blood to a higher risk of sleep disturbances, poorer sleep quality, and reduced sleep duration.
So getting enough vitamin D is crucial for your sleep, however the timing is just as crucial.
One reason for this is Vitamin D timing being crucial because it may suppress melatonin levels when taken at night. Melatonin is responsible for regulating our sleep cycle. Our melatonin increases and we start to get sleepy when the sun goes down and helps us regulate our sleep-wake cycle. When melatonin decreases, it is much harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
B vitamins are used in about 250 chemical processes in our bodies such as detoxification, help the body convert food into energy (metabolism), create new blood cells, and maintain healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues.
B vitamins also help regulate our sleep cycles by helping to produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter that makes melatonin. Having adequate amounts of B vitamins is essential for our body's normal functions. Because B vitamins are used to convert food into energy, it is not recommended to take these vitamins before bed. The last thing you want when trying to go to sleep is a bunch of energy.
Supplements timing in general
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend my clients take most of their supplements at least an hour or 2 before bed. This is because when we sleep, our body slows digestion so taking a bunch of supplements right before bed can decrease absorption. If we were getting the vitamins and minerals naturally through our diet, we would get them throughout the day.
Supplements that may promote better sleep:
Magnesium - promotes muscle relaxation
5-HTP - precursor to Serotonin, the chemical to make melatonin
Valerian Root - may reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and help you sleep better
Inositol - aid sleep and calm anxiety by activating the serotonin pathways in the brain which keep the mind calm.
Passionflower - increases levels of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA lowers the activity of some brain cells, making you feel more relaxed.
**Consult with your doctor before starting any new supplements. They may interfere with your current medications.