Many bodily disorders are easily treated through lifestyle changes such as incorporating a healthy diet. But many people fail to realize that sleep issues often derive from, or a part of, a lack of nutrients or vitamins in the body. When the body has a lack of nutrients either dis-ease or dysfunctions occur as there are not enough nutrients to support the function. If your body craves healthy sleep, fuel yourself with these vitamins and minerals to promote optimal sleep.
Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium has a natural effect on the nervous system and magnesium is part of nature’s sedatives. In fact a lack of magnesium may cause insomnia. These two work synergistically, along with Vitamin K2 and D for optimal health and recharging the circadian rhythm. Food sources that contain both nutrients include almonds, pistachios, kelp, spinach, salmon, sunflower seeds and wheat germ.
The B’s help regulation of tryptophan and serotonin, which are the sleep-inducing hormones. B12 deficiency increases confusion, fatigue and impairs nerve functions. B5 deficiency is often linked with insomnia. B6 plays a critical role in immune function and balancing serotonin and melatonin, which regulates the circadian rhythm. Boost your intake with bananas, brewer’s yeast, chicken, cauliflower, alfalfa sprouts, tuna, brown rice, lentils or salmon to increase the B levels.
Severe deficiency in Vitamin D causes severe fatigue and sleepiness, especially during the day time hours. Checking your D levels is possible through a blood draw at your local doctor’s office. Vitamin D intakes work optimally with Vitamin K2. For more Vitamin D, spend time outside in the sun, take a supplement or increase your Vitamin D consumption with food. Fresh, wild fish such as salmon, halibut and soy products such as tofu are high with Vitamin D. Mollusks and oysters are another ideal food.
Potassium is an essential mineral salt, which also functions as an electrolyte. It is known for regulating blood pressure. Potassium and magnesium work together to improve sleep. A lack of potassium (along with magnesium) is linked to muscle cramps, which often keep people restless and awake at night. Severe deficiency leads to fatigue, muscular weakness and cramps. Foods high in potassium include bananas, coconut water, swiss chard, avocado, broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce and brussel sprouts.
Copper is not often a daily thought of nutrient, but copper’s role regulates serotonin. This increases energy during the day to avoid fatigue and allows the body to produce melatonin at night. Potatoes, dark leafy greens, beans, nuts and whole grains are common foods that contain copper.
Research has showed that individuals deficient in zinc may be susceptible to insomnia. Although supplements are available, choose natural foods such as salmon, clams, beef or Alaskan King Crab.