Mind Alive Blog
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Vitamin D and Insomnia
If you sleep quite well in the summer, but not in the winter, and there are no particular stressors in your life, there might be another cause of the sleeplessness. The underlying cause is almost guaranteed to be vitamin D deficiency.
A few years ago, I had such dreadful insomnia that I was a basket case by February. This was the first year that I did not go to a tanning center during the winter to make natural vitamin D, and I became terribly deficient in “D.” While the AVE and CES helped, since the insomnia was due to a nutritional deficiency, I was only partially relieved of my symptoms. Now that I’m on vitamin D, I sleep a solid 7 1/2 to 8 hours a night and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
However, not all vitamin D is created equal. I tried 7 brands of the little white pills and not one worked, even when I was taking up to 5,000 IU a day! I finally tried a liquid vitamin D, by Pure Encapsulations (http://www.purecaps.com/), and felt myself change within the hour. I began sleeping like a rock and felt the best I’ve felt in years. I was taking 20,000 IU a day, which was too much, and after two weeks I was experiencing insomnia again. It is interesting because too much D also triggers instant insomnia, but for a different reason. It turns out that when someone takes too much D, blood levels of calcium take off, which leave the magnesium/calcium ratio very low as there is now too much calcium compared with magnesium. Low blood magnesium levels are well known to be associated with insomnia. I know of a lady who cured her insomnia by eating bananas (which are high in magnesium).
It turns out that the best ratio of vitamin D is about 2,000 IU per 100 lbs (45 Kg) of healthy, slim weight (but not skinny weight). Being that my lean weight is roughly 170 lbs, I take 3,000 – 4,000 IU a day and it works just right.
Vitamin D increases serotonin levels in the brain. Therefore, the best time to take D is at bedtime. Put 2 drops on the tongue and wash it back with a shot of water (otherwise you could get dry-mouth). If you wake up in the middle of the night for a potty-break, as I often do, take another drop or two with a little water and go back to sleep.
In years past, I often took sleeping pills to help with sleep and they hammered my nervous system, plus I habituated to them quickly, which actually made the insomnia worse. The worst thing you can take for sleep is diphenhydramine, the substance in Nytol, Sleep Aid and Benadryl, to name a few. Avoid these toxic drugs at all costs!
Other natural supplements that help with sleep are:
St. Johns Wort
I find that gel-cap Wort is more effective than the dry capsules, although both work. Tryptophan also works very well, but don not take it until you wake up in the middle of the night as you need about 5 hours from the last time you ate or drank any nutritious substance. Tryptophan is a rather large molecule and nutrients interfere with it from crossing the blood/brain barrier, so take it on an empty stomach. Not all tryptophan is created equal either. Much of it is actually 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which for many people, will not absorb into the brain. It just activates the serotonin receptors in the intestine and triggers diarrhea.
To learn more about vitamin D, go to: http://www.mindalive.com/articlenine.htm
- dancing in the dendrites!