If it’s 2am and you’re reading this article in hopes of finding a solution to your endless tossing and turning, you’re not alone: around 60 per cent of Australian adults suffer from some form of sleep disorder, including insomnia, according to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Unfortunately, chronic sleep deprivation can have serious health consequences. One study published in the journal Sleep found that sleeping less than seven hours per night on a regular basis doubles your mortality risk and sleeping less than six hours quadruples your risk.
But there may be more to blame than your stressful lifestyle, graveyard shift work, or staying glued to your smartphone while lying in bed. “An often overlooked factor in sleep problems is a vitamin deficiency,” says physician, Dr Arielle Levitan. “We need adequate levels of key nutrients to get good quality sustained sleep.” Following are some of the best-known vitamins and minerals that could help you get the ZZZs you need.
You probably already know of vitamin C’s importance to your immune system, but did you also know it’s vital to sleep? According to a 2014 study published in PLOS ONE, people who have low blood levels of vitamin C had more sleep issues and were more prone to waking up during the night. Of course citrus fruits are high in C – but these foods have more vitamin C than an orange. You could also pop a vitamin C gummy for extra assurance.
Iron helps transport oxygen throughout your body, which is why a deficiency can leave you feeling fatigued. Remember how Popeye eats spinach and becomes strong and powerful? Yep, spinach is packed with iron. An iron deficiency has been linked to restless leg syndrome, a condition that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an urge to move the legs when falling asleep. Dr Levitan and her co-author, endocrinologist Dr Romy Block, say iron deficiency is common – particularly among women. If you have iron-deficiency anaemia, you may need to take a supplement.