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Sleep, eh? Some of us do it like the proverbial log, while others among us may seem to struggle to muster 10 or 20 winks a night, never mind the full 40. So, is there an answer to your own sleep woes in the vitamins you might be taking – or not taking?
It is an intriguing subject area for sure, and it is important to acknowledge that there are differing levels of research into – and evidence of – the effectiveness of various supplements for helping us get some shuteye.
The benefits of consistently sleeping well, of course, are well-established. They include:
As for the consequences of not getting enough sleep, it has been linked to a heightened risk of various health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
And with recent statistics having suggested that 7.5 million Brits – that’s about one in seven of the population – sleep for less than five hours a night on average, it is fair to say that huge numbers of us need to prioritise a better relationship with sleep.
Poring over the research to have been undertaken so far into the best nutrients and vitamins for sleep, it is striking that plenty of them are not vitamins at all.
There’s magnesium, for example, which is involved in literally hundreds of bodily processes, so is an excellent mineral for supporting your health in general, not just sound sleep.
Nonetheless, on the sleep front, it is thought that magnesium may help quiet the mind and body, thereby allowing for easier sleep. Magnesium is great at regulating production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which might be at least one of the factors in its relaxing effect.
Or what about taking more plant extracts, such as Montmorency cherry, valerian and chamomile? These have all been linked with their own potential benefits to sleep – tart cherries, for instance, containing a lot of melatonin, with studies suggesting this could help to boost sleep time and all-round sleep efficiency.
Chamomile tea, meanwhile, has long been trusted as a sleep aid, and there seems to be some real evidence of its benefits. One study of postpartum women found that those who drunk chamomile tea for two weeks reported superior sleep quality to those who did not drink it.
The relationship between vitamin intake and sleep is an interesting one. In summary, the evidence suggests that taking vitamins before bed won’t specifically help you to sleep, but that being deficient in vitamins may be a reason for poor sleep.
If, then, you care about ensuring optimal sleep quality, the vitamins that you should start supplementing during the day are vitamins C, D and E.
As far as vitamins to help sleep are concerned, vitamin D might top the list – a 2018 study having found that deficiency in this vitamin might be associated with sleep disorders. As for vitamin C, past research has discovered that those who take lower levels of this vitamin may not be sleeping as much as those who consume higher amounts.
Nor should vitamin E be ignored by those attempting to improve their sleep health, studies having found that those with sleep apnoea are often deficient in this vitamin. And with vitamin E – as found in such parts of the diet as nuts, seeds, tomatoes and broccoli – being a potent antioxidant all-round, it could be another key support to your overall health.
Are you looking to put yourself in the best position for restful sleep? If so, you might be wanting to help yourself to a little of our own Night Time Immunity drink.
With its potent doses of vitamin C, zinc and magnesium – along with added chamomile, valerian, and Montmorency cherry – it could be just the thing for helping to ensure you catch some serious Zs when the night falls. And that, in turn, is likely to be something ‘daytime you’ is thankful for!
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