Four Vitamins and Minerals for a Good Night’s Sleep

Our whole lives, we have been told by parents, doctors, teachers, the media, and even our government that it is very important to incorporate foods into our diets that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals support our bodies’ functions by increasing the efficiency of our bodies’ systems. Sleep is one of our most important functions because it allows us to rest, renew, and detoxify during the night. A good, deep rest also supports cell regeneration.

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Some vitamins and minerals that support sleep are Vitamin D, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and potassium.

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Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to cause daytime sleepiness. As our modern lives get busier, we are getting outside less than previous generations. Less time outside means we are getting less exposure to the sun, and therefore, not producing enough Vitamin D.

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You can easily and naturally increase your Vitamin D by spending a bit more time outside, though it takes 2-3 months of regular sun exposure to build up the Vitamin D your body needs. Other options include adding fortified cereal or milk to your diet or taking a Vitamin D supplement.

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Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are important minerals our bodies need for a good night’s rest. Both nutrients are imperative to the production of melatonin, a hormone produced by our bodies to help us feel sleepy. Magnesium deficiency can lead to insomnia. Foods rich in magnesium include dark leafy greens, beans and various nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Salmon, halibut, and tuna are good sources of Vitamin B6.

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Potassium has been shown to help people stay asleep and have a deeper, more restful sleep. Though we think of bananas as a potassium-rich option, winter squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and yogurt provide more potassium per serving.

Making sure you are getting enough of these four vitamins and minerals will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better and longer.

Check out the following articles for more information on the benefits of adding these vitamins and minerals to your daily diet.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3501666/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/10686624/Vitamin-D-could-it-stop-modern-diseases.html

http://www.newswise.com/articles/scientists-identify-second-sleep-gene

Top 10 Sleep Myths Debunked

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After reading this article from the Huffington Post, I was fascinated to learn that I believed at least 5 of them!

Sleep Myth: Eight hours of sleep is a luxury; six hours is realistic.
Truth: Sleeping should not be treated as a luxury, but as a necessary part of total health. People who get the proper amount of sleep feel better, look better and are overall in better health. This is a major step to enjoying life more. I always tell people that it is hard to enjoy life when you are too fatigued to do what you like.

Sleep Myth: If I don’t get enough sleep at night, I can make up for it with a nap during the day.
Truth: While naps can rejuvenate you enough to get through the day, they are not a permanent solution to sleep deprivation. If you must nap, avoid them after 3 p.m. or you’ll affect your ability to sleep at night, creating a vicious cycle.

Sleep Myth: The weekends are a great time to rest for a long week ahead.
Truth: You can’t “bank” sleep and store it up for the future. Although being well-rested will help you cope a bit better with lost sleep, sluggishness will set in.

Sleep Myth: Hitting the snooze button will give me a few extra minutes of rest I need to feel energized.
Truth: If you’re snoozing, you’re sleep-deprived. Sleep does not come in nine-minute intervals, so be realistic about the time you need to get up. I like hitting the snooze alarm one time and doing light stretching with the light on. This gives you a gentle way to wake up.

Sleep Myth: I’ll learn more if I pull an all-nighter and cram for a test.
Truth: If you pull an all-nighter, your memory may fail you during that big test. It’s during the REM stage of sleep that we consolidate memories from the day before. If we are trying to learn new information and skimp on sleep we won’t remember as much information.

Sleep Myth: If I wake in the middle of the night, I should read a book or watch TV until I become sleepy.
Truth: The bright light from your TV or lamp will only wake you up further.  If you get up at night, go into another room and keep the room dark. I suggest meditating or doing light stretching until you feel ready for sleep again.

Sleep Myth: Exercising near bed time will keep me up at night because I’m too “energized.”
Truth: Exercising near bed time may keep you up at night, but that’s most likely because your body is too hot.  Your core body temperature must cool down before you can have a restful sleep. The optimal time for exercise is four hours before you plan to go to bed.

Sleep Myth: As I get older, my body requires less sleep.
Truth: Research has shown that as we get older we still need the same amount of sleep as when we were younger. In fact, older adults need to spend more time in bed to get the same amount of sleep, thanks to the aches, pains and medications that wake them up at night.

Sleep Myth: Snoring may be annoying, but it’s harmless.
Truth: Habitual snorers can be at risk for serious health problems, including sleep apnea, which can result in high blood pressure and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Not to mention the impact that snoring can have on your quality of sleep and that of your sleep partner!

Sleep Myth: Lack of sleep may make me feel tired, but it doesn’t have a severe impact on my health.
Truth: The consequences of even one hour of sleep loss for one night can be an increase in heart attacks. The masses of the sleep-deprived have a higher risk of illness — from heart disease, to Type 2 diabetes, stroke, obesity and depression. 

For the full article click, HERE

To ensure you get a great night of sleep, be sure that you get enough sleep at night, don’t hit that snooze button, avoid watching TV and reading in the middle of the night, be sure to exercise early and remember that all-night study sessions really don’t work.

So here’s to a good night’s sleep and debunking some sleep myths!