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Deficiency Of These Vitamins And Minerals Can Cause Insomnia

Sleep is essential for the maintenance and promotion of health. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. There are many causes of insomnia, including the deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals, which often go unnoticed by people.

According to experimental studies, micro-and macronutrients may impact the neurotransmitters or nerve-signalling chemicals of the brain, including melatonin and serotonin, and may cause sleep deprivation or sleep impairment when found deficient in the body. [1]

Sleep deprivation can affect both the physical and mental health conditions in people and may lead them to risk of diseases such as depression, metabolic syndrome and cancer, ultimately, high risk of mortality.

In this article, we will discuss that the deficiency of which vitamins and minerals can cause insomnia. Take a look.


1. Vitamin D

A study has shown that deficiency of vitamin D is linked to a higher risk of sleep disorders such as poor sleep quality, short sleep duration or sleepiness.It adds that there are many vitamin D receptors expressed in the brain areas such as the hypothalamus that helps regulate the circadian cycle or sleep-wake cycle. When vitamin D is lowered in the body, the risk of sleep disorders increases, while the risk decreases when the amount is high. [2]

Foods rich in vitamin D: Salmon, Egg yolks, cheese, mushrooms and seafood.

2. Vitamin A

A study relates between deficiency of vitamin A and short sleep among people of all age groups. It says that a low concentration of carotenoids (natural plant pigments that get converted into vitamin A in the body) in the blood can cause higher odds of short sleep. The study adds that vitamin A supplementation can decrease the deficiency of this vitamin from 55 to 44 per cent and from 45 to 30 per cent in adults aged 19-50 years and 51-99 years. [3]

Foods rich in vitamin A: Carrots, meat organs, kale, sweet potatoes, apricots and tomatoes.

3. Vitamin B12

A study published in The BMJ journal says that extreme fatigue and insomnia are some of the most common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. [4] The deficiency of this vitamin is often missed out as its symptoms may tally with those of diseases like dementia, diabetic neuropathy or mental health conditions. Another study says that vitamin B12 deficiency cannot be directly linked to insomnia, however, it may lead to depression which can, in turn, cause insomnia. [5]

Foods rich in vitamin B12: Chicken, beef, fish, eggs, low-fat milk and fortified cereals.

4. Vitamin B9

A study conducted on 87 men and women aged 21-45 years has shown that around 60 per cent of these participants have insomnia, which was measured by differences in consumed nutrients such as carbs, folic acids and B12, compared to normal sleepers. Folic acid is among the vital B-complex vitamins and its deficiency may cause problems in the sleep-wake cycle, leading to insomnia. [6]

Foods rich in vitamin B9: Leafy green vegetables, peanuts, sunflower oil and whole grains.


5. Vitamin E

Among the deficiencies of various nutrients associated with short sleep, vitamin E is one of them. Vitamin E is mainly an antioxidant that helps keep the body's immunity strong and help keep the blood cells healthy. The deficiency of this vitamin does not only lower immunity but may cause sleep-related problems such as insomnia. [3]

Foods rich in vitamin E: Soybean oil, wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds and fruit juices.

6. Vitamin C

A study talks about the relationship between vitamin C and sleep components, mainly focussing on its common disorder such as insomnia and restless legs syndrome. It says that vitamin C is an essential nutrient for sleep and by increasing its consumption, people can improve their sleep quality and reduce sleep disturbances. Therefore, deficiency of this vitamin may lead to sleeping problems and may also affect physical activities. [7]

Foods rich in vitamin C: Lemon, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, capsicums and squash.

7. Magnesium

Magnesium has proven to be effective in the treatment of insomnia regardless of cause, says a study. This vital mineral is a muscle relaxant and a great inducer of sleep. It may help improve sleep efficiency, early morning awakening and other sleep components which may cause sleep disturbances. Magnesium also has a beneficial effect on people with anxiety and depression, which is linked to insomnia in many ways, and may help treat the condition. [8]

Foods rich in magnesium: Spinach, tofu, banana, almonds and whole grains.

8. Iron

Iron deficiency anaemia is one of the common symptoms due to the deficiency of iron in
the body. It may lead to several behavioural and developmental problems by affecting brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and myelination, which is essential for inducing sleep. Iron may have positive effects on these brains neurotransmitters which may contribute to good sleep-wake regulation. Also, it may help prevent problems like deficiency anaemia, anxiety and depression which is linked to insomnia. [9]

Foods rich in iron: Beans, dried fruits, peas, red meats and seafood.


9. Potassium

A study mentions that a decrease in blood potassium content in the body may disturb the homeostasis of sleep patterns and cause problems such as metabolic diseases and cognitive impairment, along with insomnia. The deficiency of potassium can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, nightmares, abnormal dreams and hallucination, which can cause sleep problems and deteriorate the health of a person. [10]

Foods rich in potassium: Oranges, grapefruit, raisins, potatoes and dates.

10. Calcium

Though calcium is mainly known for its role in bone health, it is also essential for good and quality sleep. Consumption of calcium packed foods can cause lower problems related to difficulties in falling asleep and non-restorative sleep. The nutrient also helps regulate blood pressure, which is also associated with good sleep and thus, lower risk of insomnia. [11]

Foods rich in calcium: Okra, spinach, soy foods, dried figs, oranges and broccoli.

11. Zinc

Though zinc and sleep have been related in fewer studies, it is an important mineral for the maintenance of sleep and its quality. A study talks about the link between lower zinc concentration in the body and insufficient sleep duration, poor sleep quality and sleep disturbances in children, while sufficient intake of this mineral with good sleep quality. Therefore, the consumption of zinc can help treat sleep problems to a great extent. [12]

Foods rich in zinc: Oysters, beans, lobster, cashews, legumes and dairy.


To Conclude

Deficiencies of the aforementioned vitamins and minerals alone cannot be responsible for insomnia, however, may play an important role along with other environmental, physical and mental health problems. Consult a medical expert for early diagnosis and treatments.

Can lack of nutrients cause insomnia?

Yes, lack of several vitamins such as vitamin D, C, B6, B12 and A, and minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium can cause insomnia, or lead to sleep problems which may lead to this sleep dosrder.

What vitamin deficiency can cause insomnia?

The deficiency of vitamins like A, B6, B12, C, D and E can cause insomnia. Including these vitamins in the diet can help improve the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and melatonin in the brain and treat problems related to sleep.

Can lack of minerals cause insomnia?

Yes. minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron play a vital role in preventing insomnia in many ways such as by relaxing muscles, inducing sleep, improving the production of dopamine and serotonin and treating underlying anxiety and depression which mainly causes insomnia.