(WellnessPursuits.com) – Tossing, turning, pillow flipping and fluffing, blankets on, blankets off, staring at the clock — we’ve all done it. And as it turns out, it’s not so easy to get a good night’s sleep. About 68 percent of people say they have trouble sleeping at least once a week. Sure, there are lots of causes of insomnia. But did you know that your gut may be causing your restless nights? It’s true! There is a link between sleep and gut health.
Sleep Requires Vitamin D and B Vitamins
Vitamin D is essential for sleep. Who would have thought it? The truth is, vitamin D is vital in the production of acetylcholine (ACh). It’s a neurotransmitter that keeps you still at night and initiates REM sleep, the most restful type of sleep. If you don’t have enough ACh, you won’t get as much deep, restorative sleep as you otherwise would.
Select B vitamins also play a role. Vitamin B5, for example, makes a coenzyme that is also used to make ACh. So, you need both vitamin D and certain B vitamins to create ACh, the stuff that sleep is made of.
Gut Bacteria and Vitamin Production
But what does all of this have to do with your gut? B vitamins, including those necessary for good sleep, are made in your gut by bacteria that feed off of vitamin D. So, you need vitamin D to feed healthy gut bacteria, which, in turn, makes the vitamin B that makes the coenzyme that makes the neurotransmitter that puts you into REM sleep. It’s a whole cycle, and any hiccup along the line can disrupt the balance and lead to sleepless nights.
How to Get More Sleep
While it may all seem very complicated, it’s really not. In order to get great sleep, you need to take care of your gut microbiome. Have your doctor check your vitamin D levels, and aim to keep your levels up to more than 40 ng/ml. If you are vitamin D deficient, take supplements as prescribed. The recommended dosage varies between 800 to 2,000 IU and is entirely dependent on your age and current vitamin D levels.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, DO, of Mercola.com, a Health and Wellness oriented company, also recommends taking B50 or B100 at 100 mg each for 3 months to restore a healthy gut microbiome. Taking probiotics, eating less sugar and reducing stress may also help.
Poor sleep may mean that you’re not getting all the vitamins you need to support gut health and restorative sleep. But don’t worry! You can increase the B vitamins and vitamin D you have in your body by taking supplements. If you’re vitamin deficient, speak to your doctor about how high of a dose you should take.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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