Vitamins and Sleep What Works?

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As America continues to search for a better night’s sleep, more and more people are turning to vitamins, hoping they will be what works for a better night’s rest. Though the reasons for a restless night are many, patients looking for relief have been looking to vitamins, particularly Vitamin B12, to get the sleep they need.

The National Institute of Health reports that there are close to 70 million people who suffer from some kind of sleep problem.  These issues are related to a number of other health problems, all which can mean serious problems in the future if not treated by the patient.  For example, in 2009, 5.7 percent of adults in a sleep study reported nodding off while driving, a consequence that could have repercussions for far more people than just the tired driver.  Along with causing accidents, lost sleep can account for problems at the office. Almost 50 million people report being unable to concentrate because of too little rest, leading to lost revenue and work hours across the board. Snoring can be an indicator of sleep apnea, which means that those who are asleep stop breathing for a period of time, also leading to health problems.

There are different ways to combat these problems. Doctors recommend a stable schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Those who have trouble drifting off should also work to avoid caffeine and large meals before bed.  Smoking also can affect the way a person sleeps, keeping them awake.  Those who are having trouble sleeping should also avoid taking naps, as they can disrupt a sleep schedule. Snorers can wear a mouth guard or a CPAP machine if they are having trouble sleeping due to snoring. Others are turning to different regiments of vitamins to help them sleep.

Vitamin B12 has been found to increase a person’s melatonin levels, which can lead to a better night’s sleep. This vitamin regiment was found almost by accident. While treating a patient with thyroid problems, doctors used a treatment of different vitamins, including B12, to help the patient with the problems with his thyroid. The doctors noticed that the vitamin injections he was getting were helping with his sleep rhythms. Further study revealed that while most people will see a positive effect from these B12 injections, it is not a cure-all for all sleep problems.

In fact, B12 was found to be effective in close to 30 percent of individuals. Though this is not every person, B12 could be a positive agent in more than 20 million people’s sleep routine. Using B12 vitamins along with other treatments, like the mouth guards for snoring and eliminating poor habits before bedtime could positively affect more people.

Loss of sleep is affecting more and more Americans every year. Billions of hours of work time and billions of dollars are lost to sleeplessness.  As medical science continues to grow, so does its understanding of sleep and what sleep means to the body. While not a panacea, it seems that B12 could be just one answer.

By Bryan Levy

Photo Courtesy of Trey Ratcliff – Creativecommons License
According to Vitamin Specialist
Sleep Foundation