Good quality sleep is necessary for healthy life and wellbeing. Our body needs sleep regulators like melatonin and serotonin that help to regulate the sleep /wake cycle in the body. This cycle can be enhanced by certain nutrients like B Vitamins.
- B Vitamins are water soluble vitamins that belong to essential nutrients, and are available in natural foods or as dietary supplements.
- B Vitamins are a group of 8 vitamins such as Thaimine (B1), Riboflavine (B2), Niacin(B3), Pantothenic acid(B5), Pyridoxine(B6), Biotin(B7), Folate(B9),Cobalamin(B12)which can be taken individually or together in a group known usually as ‘B Complex’.
- B vitamins in adequate levels in the body helps to achieve good sleep and reduces sleep problems such as insomnia and sleep disturbances.
- All vitamins of B complex do not directly affect sleep but aid many metabolic processes in the body which are responsible for providing good quality sleep.
What Are the Effects of Different B Vitamins On Sleep?
- Thiamine (B1) improves muscle health, brain functions, mood changes, and energy levels which helps to decrease fatigue, muscle pains, poor memory and mood swings, all required to get good sleep.
- Riboflavine (B2) is needed to support the absorption of other essential nutrients.
- Niacin (B3) helps in the production of sex hormones and energy in the body. It supports the digestive processes and regulates mood changes. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause depression, irritability and stress which effect sleep.
- Pyridoxine(B6) plays an important role in many enzymatic and immune reactions. It helps in converting tryptophan, an amino acid into serotonin a neurotransmitter which regulates sleep/ wake cycle. It helps in the production of melatonin which is a sleep regulator. Deficiency of B6 is linked with poor quality sleep.
- Folate (B9) is necessary for maintaining healthy nervous system and its antioxidant property to decrease oxidative stress in the body, promoting healthy brain functions and synthesis of neurotransmitter Seratonin which aides good sleep.
- Cobabamin (B12) is essential to keep the nerves and blood cells healthy. It helps in the production of neurotransmitters and neuro hormones involved in the regulation of sleep and the circadian rhythm. It also helps in the production of normal red blood cells which is required to maintain proper haemoglobin levels for normal energy levels and tissue oxidation which help to maintain good sleep. B12 vitamin is used to treat insomnia (Inability and difficulty in falling asleep) in persons especially in elderly. It reduces daytime fatigue, sleep disturbances at night, numbness and tingling, and mood disturbances like depression, confusion, irritability etc.
How to Overcome Vitamin B Deficiency?
- B Vitamins are available as individual vitamins and combination of vitamins such as dietary supplements in tablet, capsule and injection forms to supplement the B complex deficiencies.
- Eat foods which are good sources of B vitamins such as leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, milk, dairy products, egg yolk, poultry, meat and fish such as salmon.
- Avoid taking Vitamin B supplements along with caffeine, alcohol and sugars which interfere with the absorption.
- Pregnant and lactating women, elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses and metabolic disorders should be given B vitamins as dietary supplements to correct the deficiencies in them.
Always avoid overdosages, and take only in the prescribed quantities. Even if there are no side effects or side effects are very minimal, any food, supplement or medicine should be only taken in optimum, prescribed amounts.