How to Cure Insomnia and Sleep Better
By Dr. Nopill

Insomniac's Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Others

Vitamins and Minerals may play an important role in regulating sleep and curing insomnia

Nutritional deficiencies or poor nutrition absorption can cause sleep troubles and chronic insomnia.

This section highlights vitamins and minerals known to have effects on sleep and help with insomnia.

When changing your vitamin and mineral intake, allow a couple of weeks to judge its effects. Keep in mind that, generally, vitamin absorption declines with age.

Group of B Vitamins

Studies have shown that maintaining sufficient levels of Vitamins B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12 particularly help in achieving good sleep.

Among other affects, the group of B Vitamins is involved in regulating the body's level of tryptophan, an amino acid important for maintaining healthy sleep (covered later).

  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) often promotes sleep in people who have insomnia caused by depression and increases effectiveness of tryptophan. It is reported to help people who fall asleep rapidly but keep waking up during the night.
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is good for relieving stress and anxiety. A deficiency of B5 can cause sleep disturbances and fatigue.
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) deficiency has been linked to insomnia.
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is reported to help insomniacs who have problems falling asleep, as well as promoting normal sleep-awake cycles.

Other relatives of the B Vitamins have been found to be helpful in some insomniac cases.

It is important to note that B-complex vitamins are used up more quickly by those who smoke, drink alcohol, are stressed and/or take birth control-pills. Consider increasing your intake of Vitamin B if you are in any of these groups.

Good natural sources of B Vitamins include potatoes, bananas, liver, liver oil, fish, turkey, nutritional yeast and molasses.

Be aware that B Vitamins can act as energizers in some people and can cause over-stimulation and sleeplessness.

If you want to check out the effect of B Vitamins on your insomnia, take a supplement containing the entire B complex about 2 hours before bedtime for a couple of weeks and see if it helps to improve your sleep.

Calcium

Calcium is a natural relaxant and has a calming effect on the central nervous system. It is essential for good sleep. Even a minor calcium deficiency can lead to muscle tension and insomnia. At the same time, Calcium can be rapidly depleted under stressful conditions.

Insomnia can be a result of low Calcium levels, its poor absorption, or both.

Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are a well-known source of Calcium. Other sources are seaweeds (kelp), nuts and seeds (almonds and sesame), beans, oranges, broccoli, and fortified products, such as soy milk. An overlooked source of calcium is eggshell, which can be ground into a powder and mixed with food.

If taking Calcium as a supplement, take it just before bedtime.
Note that Magnesium and Vitamin D are required for good Calcium absorption and proper mineral balance.

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency can cause nervousness, which may prevent you from sleeping. Low levels of magnesium can lead to shallower sleep and cause you to wake more during the night.

Magnesium-rich foods are wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, and kelp.

Copper and Iron

Poor sleep can be caused by the lack of copper and iron in the diet. These minerals very strongly affect sleep patterns.

Keep in mind, however, that copper and iron need to be in proper balance with other minerals in the body, and too much of either one can cause serious side effects.

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid. It is found in foods such as milk, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, cheese, and leafy green vegetables.

Tryptophan is one of the elements that make you feel sleepy after a big steak or turkey dinner.

It is important because of its production of serotonin, which slows down nervous activity and induces sleep.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body, which basically tells the human brain and body that it is dark outside and it is time to sleep.

Studies in both animals and humans indicate that taking melatonin is extremely safe, with very few people reporting any side effects.

Although Melatonin is a natural sedative and induces sleep, some experts are reluctant to recommend it because of its other actions as a hormone.

Melatonin is available without prescriptions, alone and as part of many "sleep remedies" for insomnia.

You can try taking Melatonin before bed time. However, as with any sleep remedy, use it as infrequently and in as low dosage as possible.

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This topic has 34 comment(s):

Sleepseeker wrote:
2011-04-02
Supplements
When I read all the articles regarding the vitamins and minerals the body needs for normal healthy function including sleep, I look at my one-a-day supplement and realize that they only contain a small fraction of daily required dosages. Of course, trying to pack a little of everything into one table would lead to these low dosages. It would seem that either taking a one-a-day with other specific supplements in higher dosages or not using them at all, would be the answer. What do you think?
ali wrote:
2011-07-26
vitmaine and minerals
The topic cover many aspect of information, it is interesting article and knowledge base. Thanks.
Denise wrote:
2011-11-07
vitamins
I've recently started to use a good stained relase multi vitamin and have since seen a huge improvement in my sleep. I wasnt having problems falling asleep, just staying asleep. I now am staying asleep for 7-8 hours straight and am feeling great!
Ronald wrote:
2011-11-07
vitamins at night
I have found that if I take multivitamins before bedtime, my body seem to be more alert and I'm having trouble staying asleep. I'm taking my multivitamins earlier in the day now, with lunch.
Irmy wrote:
2012-01-04
sleeping disorder
It's been about a month since I last had a good night sleep. I toss and turn all night long and it affects my back and legs. With the exception of possibly 2 hours of sleep, it seems that I'm up most of the night. What can I do to relieve this. Is this caused by Restless legs symptoms?
gary wrote:
2012-02-22
vitamins
If I take vitamins A to ZINC, my regular sleep at night is affected - brain is alerted and body is relaxed.
If you take vitamins it should be in the morning.
ganga wrote:
2012-03-06
insomnia
insomnia patient since 2006, and having medicines till
J. K. Pathak wrote:
2012-06-18
Insomnia
I have not been able to sleep at night for the last two years. I hardly sleep three to four hours at night, of course with lots of efforts. I am taking multivitamin/mineral half- tablet A to Z everyday at breakfast. In the afternoon I usually have 15 minutes cat-nap. I am fully engaged during the day. My appetite is good and consuming nutritious food. Please note I am a vegetarian-- not even eggs. I avoid as far as possible dairy products. I am fully dependent on fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and beans. No health problems except some skin problem. I take my pathological tests once a year. Everything normal. I check eyes, dental, ECG, ultrasonography, etc regularly. Can anyone suggest the cause of insomnia.
Arnold wrote:
2012-06-19
Also looking for solution
J. K. Pathak,
I am in exactly same situation, except I'm not a vegetarian. I wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back into sleep.
Do you take any (not sleep related) medications? For example, blood pressure meds?
Joven wrote:
2012-10-14
Re: Insomia
I've been a user of clonazepam .05 mg with doctor's prescription for more than 3 years now. Lately I stop abruptly but I experienced withdrawal syndrome like insomia, body pain and inability to focus although my appetite is not affected I think this makes me resilient.

Now now that I learned that B-Complex,Minerals and other vitamins will help, I will try this recommendation hope that it will work out. Perhaps it may take weeks to be able to recover my sleepless nights.

To those like me with insomia please do not attempt to drink benzodiapines, it is addicted although doctor will tell you not.

We hope for the best. More power to everyone.
paris wrote:
2012-11-03
sleep
i have not been sleeping for a few years ...tried everything but recently i have had two great nights....not deep sleep but at least i feel like i have rested and night...single vitamin niacin vit b 3.. take vitamin an hour before bed....please try and post your results...
San Diego wrote:
2012-11-13
Insomnia
I have started b12 shots- not painful and an amazing difference in regards to my sleep.I am not vegetarian, but they help dramatically. I also find a b complex with high b3 helps a ton. Slo-Mag with magnesium chloride is another thing I take at night that helps.
Crozet wrote:
2012-11-21
Insomnia
3 months ago I went G-free and one of the happy side effects is I started sleeping through the night. I started researching to figure out why and I think I was not absorbing vitamins due to my stomach issues. I started taking B complex and magnesium as well to make sure I was getting enough with my limited diet. I also take calcium since I don't tolerate dairy. I do think there is a vitamin connection if you are deficient. I suffered for more than 10 years of waking up after 3 hours and being up for at least 2 hours before getting another couple of hours.
Soyeso wrote:
2012-11-29
TCM
Most people are unlikely to find solutions to chronic insomnia only through diet or supplements (Western approach), since so many elements are at play. There is no one solution for everyone. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) offers solutions for each type of imbalance. Ayurveda may help as well. Besides your individual body type, your emotions and individual imbalances can be assessed by TCM practitioners.
Try some searching using "Insomnia TCM" online, but a thorough
assessment needs experience. I do not mean to belittle the good dietary suggestions above. It's ALL important...
The best way to take Magnesium is transdermal (through the skin)...see "magnesium oil". Good luck, I know well how insomnia feels...
Mrs. Parker wrote:
2012-12-03
Insomia
When I worked overseas 2 years ago, I developed a problem in sleeping. The doctor prescribed me rivotril and anrax (hope I am correct with the name). It does help me once in a while. I feel like I have a quality sleep every four days. The problem is when I drinked the medicines and I did not sleep immediately (after feeling sleepy)the medicines effect expires resulting to having not sleep at all. Reading the tread here I will try B3 and tapper by next year the medecines I am taking.
I hope B3 is the answer :-)
Mrs. Parker wrote:
2012-12-03
Insomia
Joven, are you able to get a good results from B3 ? Please share your experience.

Thanks
teacher wrote:
2013-02-03
insomnia
I began having restless leg in college. I did not know what to do about it and had never heard of it before. My symptoms became increasingly worse over some years. After six years of college I began having insomnia in addition to restless leg....it came in spurts. Pregnant, I asked my doctor what he thought it was, but he had no idea. I happened to read a short article in Reader's Digest about it and finally had a name for it. When I took pre-natal vitamins my symptoms went away. Many months later, off of vitamins, my insomnia and RLS came back. After reading The Miracle of Magnesium I knew that a big part of my own deficiency was magnesium, which I supplement fairly regularly for a variety of health benefits. When off of magnesium for a length of months I notice both symptoms coming back.
Mrs. Parker wrote:
2013-02-09
Insomia
After reading this article I bought B12. I drink this together with Centrum Advance after having my lunch. It helped though but still at night drinking Rivotril to help me sleep.
I hope one day B12 and the other vitamins I am taking will help me get through with this sleep disorder without taking any medication as I plan to have another baby by next year...
emma wrote:
2013-04-10
insomina
Vitamines and minerals play a massive role enabling our bodies to function properley. Being an acupunturist of traditional chinese medicine. I have seen great improvments with insomnia from acupunture. One of my clients suffered from insomina for 15yrs after 5 treatments the gap of being awake in the night is starting to close. So there is hope for you all yet. Good luck
luckyone wrote:
2013-05-19
pantothenic acid stops 4am awakening
I struggled for some time with waking up in the middle of the night and unable to go back to sleep for a long time. This started in my early 50's. My doctor suggested 500 mg pantothenic acid before bed and it WORKS!! I take it with a costco melatonin at bedtime. I sleep through the night, unless I forget to take it before bed.
Natasha wrote:
2013-06-08
B12
I had a B12 deficiency & I couldn't sleep kept getting up at 3 am the doctors didn't take notice they put me on sleeping tablets & anti depressants & it worsened the condition. Then by researching on my own i found out i have been having a life long deficiency of B12 especially if you're vegan or vegetarian you should watch out for this I took oral B12 in the form of sublingual Methylcobalamin dissolved on the tongue for easy absorption straight to the blood stream, since the commonly prescribed cynacobalamin contains a minute amount of cyanide which harms the brain. So in 2 months i got my B12 levels up my sleep was normal & i also took magnesium for relaxing on n off. And also please take all your vitamins after breakfast.
Informed wrote:
2013-08-07
Insomnia
Dont listen to that jargon about Tryptophan not being available in the US. Ive been taking a 100 percent pure tryptophan supplement for about a year and it has dramatically helped my insomnia.
mary wrote:
2013-08-17
restless leg syndrom
I thought I had this, and it was severe. Turned out I had a tumor on my spinal cord...once it was removed I was ok
Mark wrote:
2013-09-26
Tryptophan
Doc,

I live in the USA and I've been using L-tryptophan for the last 5 years. The last purchase I made (about 6 months ago) was for 500 grams, or a little over a pound worth.

The caveat here is that tryptophan should be taken on an empty stomach with Niacin and vitamin B6 or it will converted into serotonin instead of melatonin.

Also, there are GABA derivatives such as phenibut which may be used on a short-term basis of a couple weeks to help acclimate someone's transition from pharmaceuticals (mine was Ambien) to a peaceful night's sleep without harmful drugs.

I hope everyone will benefit from this info I've collected from across the internet.
mary wrote:
2013-11-15
insomia
It was started last August when I got fever for almost a week I am away with my family, and this concerned me alot that makes me not to sleep well up to now. PLS. HELP. I am taking rivotril for sometime and Mosegor Vita for 5 days as if it is not working. How many week do I feel the effect of Mosegor Vita for those who is using it PLS. HELP.
Desperate wrote:
2013-12-09
Severe anxiety depression and vision
For year I suffered from severe anxiety and depression for almost 4 years and still suffering from it. I used to have perfect eyesight since 2004 when I had a lasik surgery done. Few months ago, I noticed my right eyes is getting blurry and just getting worse. I took several and different kinds of anti depressants and sleeping pills over the years. Could anxiety and depression have anything to do with my eyesight?
lama wrote:
2014-01-08
insomnia and B-vitabins
I started taking B complex which contains B1, B6 and B12 and i cannot sleep atall..so i have the worst kinds of insomnia!!! I heard that it should be taken in the morning only because it keeps you alert and energized..It could be that im taking it in high doses. I will stop it all together and see what happens.

so i think the information about b complex providing a better sleep is misleading. what are the recommended doses of the b complex vitamins?? so i know if i was taking a toxic dose or not
Interested wrote:
2014-01-20
Vit B 12 & 6
Just started Vit B 12 & 6 and have more insomia and some restless leg at night. I am intrigued with this discussion - I started it for purposes of memory and mood; therefore will stick with it for a while longer. Like all medications and side effects, this may be an example of a medication, where the very thing it is meant to fix, it worsens. Likely not enough good evidence to support good, bad or neutral effects.
Saj wrote:
2014-02-15
Feeling sleepy day time
I am having trouble to have a quality and deep sleep as i keep waking up in the night, although i sleep back but it does not restore my energy as i feel tired, fatigued and sleepy through out the day. Please help.
Mel wrote:
2014-02-19
Insomnia
I have insomnia but found that the only medication that works safely is melatonin or L Theanine, both natural. Alternate each tablet every month. Excellent results
DesertGuy57 wrote:
2014-04-08
Insomnia
Keep pounding away at the Internet and learn all you can. If daytime sleepiness persists it may be obstructive sleep apnea. Get a sleep study to find out for sure. Regular exercise helps for a variety of reasons. Good nutrition, contolling anxiety etc. Many conditions can contribute to poor sleep. Research!!!!
Jack wrote:
2014-06-30
Insomia
I have insomnia for years already. I went to a psychiatrist and prescribe with Clonazepam and risperidone but still I can\'t sleep. I\'ve also tried vit. B complex and melatonin but they are not working. I\'ve tried vitamins but it gets worse. I can\'t sleep the whole night and not feeling sleepy. Clonazepam sometimes work but it\'s not always working. What will I do? I feel like my life stop. I can\'t find work \'coz my body is feeling tired always and it\'s like there\'s something wrong with my stomach.
NIL wrote:
2014-07-05
insomnia
Full spectrum B vitamins hurt my sleep, even when taken in the morning. I believe I am allergic to some part of the process used to make the supplements.
Shamanist wrote:
2014-08-01
Sleep Quality
B Complex and L Tyrosine improve the quality of my sleep when taken at bed time.

Melatonin helps to induce sleep, but then it causes me to sleep too much. Also, I don\'t feel refreshed from Melatonin induced sleep. However, it\'s useful to resetting circadian rhythms.

We all have different biochemistry, and what worked for me may not work for you.

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