June 9, 2021

Can Vitamins and Supplements Help You Sleep?

An expert discusses what effects, if any, vitamins have on your ability to sleep

woman taking vitamin

You know the feeling: You toss and turn, night after night and nothing seems to quite do the trick. You’ve tried over-the-counter sleep aids and even some supplements, but you’re beginning to wonder if there’s a more natural way to get some extra zzz’s.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

One avenue some people explore involves vitamins and supplements. We get them via food and drinks and many of us take over-the-counter vitamins and supplements. Is there a certain vitamin or combination of supplements that could help induce sleep so we don’t have to rely on prescription medications?

We spoke with integrative medicine specialist Naoki Umeda, MD, to find out more about what we do and don’t know about vitamins and supplements for sleep and whether certain products can offer hope – or do more harm.

Can vitamins help you sleep?

According to Dr. Umeda, “While some natural remedies such as melatonin, valerian, magnesium or chamomile tea may help for some people, there’s no definitive evidence from randomized controlled trials these are effective for typical insomnia,” he says.

There are, though, some supplements that may help, but you should consult your healthcare provider for more information.

  • Melatonin is a hormone that’s related to sleep control. While it may be effective for shift work sleep disorder or jet lag, it hasn’t been found to aid typical insomnia. It may increase the effect of warfarin (a blood thinner), and it should not be used if you are pregnant.
  • Valerian is an herb that may help improve sleep quality. It is considered safe if you take in recommended doses, but don’t use if you are pregnant.
  • Magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate may also help improve sleep quality by changing the amount of some neurotransmitters that have a calming effect. Taking excessive amounts, however, can cause digestive issues like diarrhea. It can be used while you are pregnant, but please consult your Ob/Gyn.
  • Chamomile tea may help you fall asleep and it’s generally considered safe.

Again, although these may be helpful, there are only a handful of well-designed studies with inconclusive results. More research is definitely needed.

Advertisement

Can vitamin deficiencies affect your sleep?

Another area where there has been preliminary research is on how certain vitamins – or lack thereof – could adversely affect your sleep.

A 2018 study showed a potential link between vitamin D deficiency and sleep disorders. Given other data available about the effects of vitamin D deficiency, this connection doesn’t seem that surprising. But even the researchers behind the study admitted the conclusions were “controversial” and said more studies are needed to confirm the link. “That connection might be correct, but it could be just one of several factors,” says Dr. Umeda.

It’s possible that other vitamin deficiencies could indirectly lead to poor sleep. For instance, iron deficiency is considered a potential cause of restless legs syndrome which can interrupt sleep. But, as with the other studies mentioned here, there’s just not enough evidence.

The bottom line

Whatever you may hear or read, there’s just not enough evidence to back any strong connection between vitamins, supplements, and sleep. Melatonin, valerian, magnesium, or chamomile tea may be helpful and are usually safe but they might not work for everyone.

If you can, suggests Dr. Umeda, do your best to get most of your vitamins from a healthy, balanced diet rather than supplements. “Overdoing vitamins or taking a combination of various vitamins may affect sleep,” he says.

Advertisement

“If your diet is healthy, though, your body will absorb an adequate amount of most vitamins. In addition, simple lifestyle changes can improve your sleep. Meditation, deep breathing, or aromatherapy and essential oils may help,” he adds. “It is also recommended to limit caffeine, create a dark, quiet and cool sleeping environment and not use smartphones, tablets or laptop computers for at least one hour before going to sleep.”

Check with your healthcare provider to see if taking a multivitamin or a daily dose of a specific vitamin is necessary for you, particularly if you may need several different vitamins. And, Dr. Umeda notes, be sure to check with your healthcare provider if you want to take or are taking certain vitamins or supplements for your sleep issues.

Related Articles

Older woman awake in bed in the middle of the night looking a smartphone
February 20, 2024
Does Menopause Cause Insomnia and Sleeplessness?

Hormone changes can definitely leave you tossing and turning at night, but help is available

person sitting on bed stretching
January 22, 2024
How To Become a Morning Person

Break up with your snooze button by shifting your bedtime and establishing a consistent nighttime routine

female awake in bed staring ahead with male next to her asleep
January 19, 2024
3 Steps for Managing Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Keeping a sleep diary and seeing a sleep specialist can help you stay asleep and get the ZZZs you need

person in wheelchair lifting weights in gym
December 26, 2023
7 New Year’s Resolutions To Improve Your Heart Health

Resolve to move a little more, drink a little less, eat a little healthier, sleep a little better and destress a lot

Top view of person sitting in bathtub with cold water and lots of ice.
November 26, 2023
Brrr! What To Know About Cold Plunges

An ice bath can ease sore muscles and decrease inflammation after a workout

woman sleeping
November 1, 2023
Is It Bad To Sleep in a Bra?

Head to bed in a bra to reduce breast pain, nipple irritation and stretch marks

person taking vitamins at breakfast table
October 4, 2023
Can Vitamins Help Slow Macular Degeneration?

They may help, but it depends on factors like the stage of your disease

Person relaxes in bed reading before going to sleep at night.
September 24, 2023
Sleep Hygiene: 7 Tips for a Better Bedtime Routine

Winding down before bed is key to better sleep

Trending Topics

close up of keto gummies
Do Keto Gummies Work for Weight Loss? Are They Safe?

Research is inconclusive whether or not these supplements are helpful

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

Older person postioned sideways showing dowager hump.
Dowager’s Hump: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

The hump at the base of your neck may be caused by osteoporosis or poor posture

Ad