Vitamin D and Sleep

vitamin d supplement

Vitamin D is very important and some people require supplementation in order to get enough. In order to produce adequate Vitamin D from sun-exposure, you would have to sit in the sun every day for enough time to begin turning your skin pink. There are obvious reasons why that is unreasonable for most people, so most people opt to take a supplement.

The FDA currently recommends the RDA for Vitamin D is 400 IU per day, but that is turning out to be insufficient for many people and different healthcare providers are recommending their patients take anywhere from 2,000 IU – 40,000 IU dail,. with the intention of raising their levels to varying levels.

Calcium is not just needed for healthy bones

In fact, our bones don’t just hold us upright and protect our innards—they also produce blood and store nutrients like calcium. Every cell in our bodies requires calcium to perform. When we don’t receive enough calcium from our diet, our body will pull calcium out of the bone to supply the cells. If we don’t have enough calcium already in our bones or we are not absorbing enough from our diet, then our bones become depleted and weak which is how people develop osteoporosis.

The primary reason people take Vitamin D is to prevent osteoporosis, but it can also play an important role in cardiovascular health, hormone balance, and even mood.

Less restful sleep

Recent research has found that some women experienced less restful sleep after their blood levels rose above 32ng/mL after taking a daily 2000 IU vitamin D supplement for about 12 months (1). It is vital that we all get enough sleep to remain healthy, but with the current research showing that the ideal blood level of vitamin D is 30-35 ng/mL (2); therefore it would be more appropriate to address why the changes in vitamin D levels are altering the sleep pattern than to refuse to take the supplement.

We are starting to see a correlation in the research between melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleepy), calcium levels, and vitamin D levels; but we are still probably a long way from understanding why this is happening and what the overall implications are.

Chinese medicine has an entirely different approach to diagnosing and treating irregular sleep patterns and insomnia, regardless of what the blood tests are saying. Whether it is related to taking a supplement or not, if you have begun to experience difficulties with sleeping, see an acupuncturist. One of the first things most people notice once they begin receiving acupuncture is that they begin sleeping better. The beauty of living in a world that now has access to both acupuncture and modern medicine is that we no longer need to sacrifice one component of our well-being in order to support another.

References

1) Prev Med. 2016 Dec;93:166-170.

2) J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 May;98(5):2160-7.

by Ben Townsend

Ben Townsend, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM), M.S. studied acupuncture at the prestigious Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts in Asheville, NC and also studied nutrition at North Carolina State University. He is an accredited master of acupuncture and oriental medicine, licensed acupuncturist and diplomate of acupuncture (NCCAOM). Ben went into the field of acupuncture because he believes in healthcare that allows him to treat people with the least invasive, safest measures before resorting to more aggressive treatments. He is passionate about finding the safest, most efficient methods to help his patients achieve optimal health.

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