Here Comes the Sun and I Say, “It’s Alright!”

The role of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is vital to restful sleep and our overall health.

By Joe Castignani

It turns out that the Beatles were definitely on to something with their iconic song. The role of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is vital to restful sleep and our overall health.

 When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me to “drink my milk” and for good reason. Milk is full of great nutrition and has been fortified with Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, since 1933. Then, after downing my glass of milk, I then headed to school and enjoyed recess with my friends, playing in the bright, Vitamin D-producing sunshine.

 As adults, getting plentiful Vitamin D isn’t quite as simple. Many adults have limited milk intake and consume a diet low in Vitamin D. As a result of these dietary factors and reduced exposure to sunlight due to work schedules, climate, or lifestyle choices, approximately 35% of adults in the United States have Vitamin D deficiency which may be adversely affecting quality sleep.

Vitamin D has an important role in sleep regulation

This is not just disconcerting news for your bones and immune system. Mounting evidence shows that Vitamin D plays a major role in sleep regulation and a deficiency is associated with increased daytime drowsiness, sleep difficulties, shorter sleep duration, and nighttime awakenings in both children and adults. So, what is a Vitamin D-deprived person to do?

Check out these ideas for a Vitamin D-rich lifestyle

Sunlight. Just 15 minutes of sun exposure daily can improve Vitamin D production. An added plus? Exposure to sunlight can decrease depression and improve mood. If possible, take daily breaks in your schedule and enjoy a brisk walk, or relish a Vitamin D-rich snack in the sunshine.

Foods. Full of Vitamin D, adding these foods to your diet isn’t just healthy—it’s delicious!

  • fish and seafood such as salmon, tuna, shrimp, sardines
  • egg yolks
  • leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables
  • dairy products
  • citrus juices

Supplements. Because certain medications or health issues can cause Vitamin D deficiency, lifestyle changes may not be enough for some individuals. Consult with your physician about the best course of supplementation for your needs.

What have we learned?

Vitamin D plays an important role in sleep regulation. With shorter days and a higher chance of overcast skies during the winter, our natural exposure to sunlight lessens dramatically when compared to the bright days of summer.  Because sunlight is a major source of Vitamin D, it’s important to consider a diet rich in the sunshine vitamin to maintain healthy sleep patterns.

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Dream big, work hard, sleep ambitiously,

Joe Castignani