Posted on Feb 28, 2020, 3 p.m.
According to the National Sleep Foundation 35% of Americans experience poor sleep, and 20% report waking up not feeling refreshed on any given day of the week. This is bad news as lack of sleep has been linked to a variety of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Recent research suggests that poor sleep quality may be linked with nutrient deficiency, findings were presented at the Annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition. Results showed that those who get less than 7 hours of sleep per night tend to eat less calcium, magnesium, zinc, and niacin, and may also be deficient in vitamins A, B1, and D.
“This work adds to the body of growing evidence associating specific nutrient intake with sleep outcomes,” said Chioma Ikonte, one of the authors of the study. “Our findings suggest that individuals with short sleep duration might benefit from improving their intake of these nutrients through diet and supplementation.”
Numerous studies have shown that micronutrients play important roles in human growth, development, and disease prevention. Despite the growing body of evidence 2 billion people worldwide suffer from a micronutrient deficiency according to W.H.O.
To investigate how sleep is affected by micronutrients researchers analyzed correlations between vitamin and mineral intake and sleep quality. Data from the US NHANES research program was analyzed. Adults who slept less than 7 hours of sleep tended to consume lower amounts of micronutrients. Among women the greater lack of micronutrients was associated with worse sleep than in men, but dietary supplements reduced this number indicating that those with poor diets can meet the daily nutritional requirements with supplements to possibly improve sleep. However, it was noted that more research is required to clarify.
“Whether chronic short sleep causes nutrient insufficiency or the nutrient insufficiency causes short sleep still needs to be determined,” Ikonte said. “A clinical study that investigates [the impact of] supplementation with these nutrients on sleep outcomes is needed to demonstrate cause and effect.”
Sleep is important to overall health and may be as important as following a healthy diet and exercise. Along with eating a healthy diet to ensure that you are getting the right amounts of essential nutrients there are some other steps you can take to help optimize sleep which includes increasing your exposure to bright light during the day, increasing your level of physical activity during the day, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and being consistent with your sleeping and waking time schedule.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.