I bang on all the time about how nutrition affects your brain. It’s why I include a recipe that’s packed with brain fuel in every email, why Heights even exists - to make sure that the fuel you’re putting in your body optimises your brain’s performance, your memory, your ability to learn, make decisions, regulate your mood, and even your sleep.
Sleep is notoriously hard to come by in December, so this week - I thought we’d go into a bit more detail about what specific vitamins can impact the quality, quantity and rhythms of your sleep, and how.
Vitamin D plays a starring role in your bone health, immune function, inflammation control and mood regulation. When it comes to sleep, recent research shows that a deficiency in vitamin D is linked to lessened sleep quality and shorter amounts of time spent sleeping (especially in those 50+).
It can also increase the severity of symptoms for sleep apnea sufferers, and impact our bio-clocks. This is the really interesting bit: vitamin D may activate two genes responsible for our circadian clocks - which control our 24-hour circadian rhythm. Light and dark are the primary controls of our bio-clocks - and, as sunlight is the main source of vitamin D, that could explain the link between vitamin D and our sleeping patterns.
Food sources of vitamin D: The body makes vitamin D in response to sunlight, but other food sources include fatty fish and fish oils, egg yolks, and some fortified dairy and juices
Is vitamin D in Heights? YES! Read more about it here.
Cell function is vitamin E’s main function, as well as supporting immune health. As a powerful antioxidant, it may also help with sleep and sleep-centric health issues.
Sleep loss and memory loss go hand in hand. This is because during sleep, your brain processes memories and everything you learn during the day. vitamin E’s antioxidant properties can help with this by protecting your brain health, and offers targeted protection for the hippocampus against blips in memory related to lack of sleep.
Studies have also shown that vitamin E is a common deficiency for those with sleep apnea. In combo with other antioxidants like vitamin C, it can improve breathing at night and sleep quality. Vitamin E also helps to protect testosterone production, which can be affected by lack of sleep.
Food sources of vitamin E: nuts and seeds, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes
Is vitamin E in Heights? YES! Read more about it here.
Vitamin B6 and B12
B vitamins are vital for brain function and development, as well as immune function, cardiovascular health, red blood cell formation and DNA activity.
In sleep, vitamin B6 can help to recall your dreams, and help you to get into the whole lucid dreaming thing (here’s a crazy video about that). It also helps to produce serotonin and melatonin, which are both key for sound, peaceful sleep and regulate mood.
There’s a strong link between depression and sleep issues. From difficulty keeping to any kind of sleep schedule, to insomnia, circadian rhythm disruptions and even hypersomnia - deficiencies in B6 and B12 can impact the risk of depression and its related sleep disorders.
Food sources of vitamin B6 and B12: Bananas, carrots, spinach, and potatoes are great sources of B6, and B12 is found in animal proteins like milk, eggs, cheese, and fish.
Are B vitamins in Heights? YES! Read more about it here.