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Archive:

Posts for tag: Vitamin D


Thursday, January 20, 2011


Once again I love it when a mystery is revealed, or at least partially explained.
A case study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine helped confirm the importance of vitamins to your sleep.
But a recent case study has shown that a patient with severe sleepiness and a vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation improved daytime sleepiness dramatically. The patient was a 28 year old female. She was suffering for about four months with excessive sleepiness. Her symptoms started slowly and continued to progress. She kept a standard bedtime between 10 and 11 pm, and she reported falling asleep within minutes. She would wake at 7:30 am and reported that she did not think that she was sleeping poorly. She would get her kids ready for school and then be back in bed by 8am until noon. She would then nap from 4 pm to 7 pm. She reported about 14 hours of sleep per day.
Her sleep study showed no signs of sleep apnea or other sleep disorder. During her clinic visit she showed no signs of narcolepsy, depression or anxiety. Her next day nap study was unremarkable. She reported muscle fatigue and pain, as well as headaches. Her lab work showed a thyroid in the low but normal range and she had low levels of vitamin D.
She was started on a vitamin D supplementation at 50,000 units once per week (IV) and within 2 weeks she started to see a decrease in her sleepiness and fatigue.
Vitamin D is actually considered a fat soluble hormone that can be received in foods (dietary sources and fish) or is self-manufactured by the skin after exposure to UVB light. A vitamin D deficiency has been noticed as a global issue and recently found in underserved populations, patients in northern latitudes, people with darker skin tones, the elderly, obese and pregnant or lactating women. Also very common in areas with a high degree of sunshine (this seems counter-intuitive, but think about all that sunblock!). Recent studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to metabolic syndrome, muscle pain, and even type 2 diabetes.
So why do we think it helped her sleepiness? It is really hard to say, but I have seen this in some of my patients. It could be linked to a decrease in sleep disturbing pain. Or vitamin D may be something that will help decrease a person's drive for sleep. Only more research in this exciting new area can tell us.
Check with your doctor about vitamin supplementation. We all work hard, and eating right isn't always easy - and even when we do, we may not get what we need from the food we eat. Our bodies actually make vitamin D, but we have to get enough sunlight to make that happen effectively.
Sweet Dreams,
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™

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