In my most recent blog post, I began a series focusing on vitamins and minerals that can support and improve healthy sleep. First, I looked at vital minerals that can help the body sleep soundly. Today, I’d like to explore the B-complex vitamins that increase melatonin production, protect against nighttime leg cramps, and otherwise aid healthy sleep.
B vitamins help the body absorb or make energy from the foods you consume, as well as aiding the formation of red blood cells. B vitamins are found in a range of animal proteins—fish, meat, eggs, dairy, and poultry—as well as leafy greens, beans, and peas. Several vitamins in this complex help the body regulate the use of tryptophan, which can induce drowsiness, and serotonin, which calms the nervous system and encourages sleep.
According to the National Institutes of Health, The B vitamins are:
- Thiamine, or B1
- Riboflavin, or B2
- Niacin, or B3
- Pantothenic Acid, or B5
- Biotin, or B7
- Folic acid
The most important B vitamins for supporting sleep are B3, B6 and B12, though others can be implicated as well. B3 increases the time spent in REM sleep, which can minimize the number of times you wake during the night. B6 supports serotonin production, helping you relax at bedtime. B12 has been shown to help regulate sleep-wake cycles in several individual medical case studies, including elderly individuals and adolescent patients. Along with folic acid, another type of B vitamin, B12 helps regulate adrenal function and avoid insomnia or nighttime sleep interruption.
A randomized double-blind research study conducted in Taiwan found B-complex vitamins to be a safe and effective treatment for nocturnal leg cramps in older patients, which can also encourage uninterrupted sleep—so the whole B complex is a plus when it comes to getting your ZZZS. A lack of B12 and B6 can also lead to anemia, so it’s important to get your B vitamins on many levels.
Do you take a B vitamin or pay attention to the amount of B you’re getting from your diet? How’s your sleep?