Can’t Sleep? You Might Lack These Nutrients

Credit: Unsplash, Megan Te Boekhorst

We all want to get a good night’s sleep, but for many of us, that’s easier said than done. Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep can be caused by a number of factors — stress, medical issues, insomnia and more. If you’re having trouble sleeping, it could be a deficiency of one of these nutrients.

  • Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps promote relaxation and sleepiness. People who are deficient in tryptophan may be more likely to experience insomnia. The best sources of tryptophan include bananas, oats, chicken, turkey and milk.
  • Zinc. This trace element plays an important role in the synthesis of melatonin, the sleep hormone that signals the brain that it’s time to go to bed. Zinc deficiency can cause insomnia and even lead to a full-blown case of restless leg syndrome. Excellent sources of zinc include beef, oysters, pork loin and other red meats.
  • Iron. Iron deficiencies are fairly common and are especially common in women due to monthly blood loss from menstruation. Iron is necessary for proper oxygen flow through the body; when your body doesn’t get enough iron, it won’t function properly or produce sufficient energy for restful slumber. Women with heavy periods are at greater risk for low iron levels because they lose blood every month, but men also need plenty of iron — especially as they age.
  • Vitamin B6 is helpful in regulating melatonin secretion from the brain, which helps induce sleep and relaxation. Fatigue, anxiety, irritability, headaches and depression have all been linked to low levels of B6 in the body.
  • Vitamin D is essential for proper functioning of the brain’s neurotransmitters and hormones. This vitamin also aids in immune system function and helps boost energy levels. Research supports that there is a correlation between low Vitamin D levels and insomnia.
Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.