Does Vitamin B Help You Sleep? + How to Get Better Sleep

B vitamins get a lot of talk in the supplement world. Everything from increased energy to better skin is brought up. But the question you may be wondering is, does vitamin B help you sleep?

Sleep is essential for muscle growth and recovery, so some may hope that supplements could be the answer to a good night’s rest. But claims about vitamin B and sleep are debatable. 

What Happens in the Body When You Take Vitamin B?

Vitamin B complex is made up of 8 vitamins: Vitamin B 1 (thiamine), 2 (riboflavin), 3 (niacin), 5 (pantothenic acid), 6 (pyridoxine), 7 (biotin), 9 (folic acid), and 12 (cobalamin). You can find a concentration of Vitamin B in foods like milk, cheese, a variety of meats, and leafy greens. 

Vitamin B plays a vital role in our body’s systems. These vitamins help our bodies create and maintain healthy blood cells, assist brain functions, and help us make energy from the food we eat.

Of all the B vitamins, vitamin B12 specifically seems to have some linkage to sleep regulation, which can be incredibly important for bodybuilders and other high-intensity athletes. That said, most who are eating a standard bodybuilding diet (that is, a high-protein diet that emphasizes whole foods) will find that they are naturally already meeting their intended daily requirement for vitamin B.

What are the Benefits of Taking Vitamin B?

Because of the complexity of Vitamin B, meeting the daily required amounts for your body can have many benefits including:

  • B Vitamins are tied to a lower risk of stroke among adults
  • B Vitamins boost the immune system, which helps the body fight illnesses. This can be very important to athletes when they are in competition prep and their body is under considerable stress and stimuli.
  • B Vitamins help the body break down food into energy, increasing the efficiency of what you eat. This is great news for those that are eating at a caloric deficit and need every bite to count.
  • Some studies are starting to show that Vitamin B can assist with premenstrual symptoms like anxiety and bloating.2 This is great news for female athletes, particularly bodybuilders who need to look extra lean during shows.
  • B Vitamins can help with stress and chronic fatigue, which frequently plague high-intensity athletes.

Does Vitamin B Help You Sleep?

Stress and fatigue reduction sounds great, but does that really mean that Vitamin B helps you to get better quality sleep? Some studies suggest it could help regulate sleep patterns, but the results seem to be inconclusive thus far.

The specific B vitamin that is most linked to sleep quality is B12 – cobalamin. How is it linked? Cobalamin serves as a circadian modulator for melatonin, which is commonly called the sleep hormone.1 Vitamin B12 supports the pineal gland (located in the brain), which is where the body produces and secretes melatonin. This melatonin production is what helps the body fall asleep and stay asleep.

What this means, however, is that the assistance will probably only be noticed if you have a pineal gland that is under-functioning. If the pineal gland is not functioning well, you’ll see many signs of hormone imbalance that impact your sleep, like symptoms of insomnia or general brain fog during the day.

Can Vitamin B Complex Keep You Awake at Night?

It can seem contraindicative that a vitamin loosely linked to better quality sleep can also keep you awake at night, but it’s true. Because taking a Vitamin B Complex helps your body to process nutrients, that means it is impacting your metabolism. 

Any supplement, including Vitamin B Complex, that has a stimulating effect on the metabolism has a chance to impact your sleep if it is taken before bed. If you worry that you’re missing out on this vital nutrient in your regular diet, you may choose to supplement it. 

To reap the benefits without negatively impacting your sleep schedule, be sure to take it in the morning instead of before bed. The supportive elements, like with your hormones that help you calm down at night, will still be supported at night even with a morning dose. Of note, it is also a water-soluble vitamin, which means you don’t have to worry about overdosing on it.

Are There Any Other Supplements That are Good for Sleep?

Sleep is a vital part of life that is often undervalued for people, particularly athletes that like to push their bodies to extremes. Because lack of sleep due to stress plagues so many, there are many supplement solutions on the market to assist with this.

The most notable is melatonin. As mentioned above, our bodies produce this naturally, but oral supplementation can assist as well. Common dosages are between 1 and 10 milligrams, taken an hour before bed.

The second most common sleep supplement is magnesium, which has been linked to soothing the body’s central nervous system. This helps your body to fall asleep faster and stay in a deeper state of sleep for a longer period.

For milder sleep assistance, there are many naturally occurring herbs and supplements that are touted as having calming effects on the body: chamomile, ashwagandha, lavender, valerian root, and tryptophan are all prevalent in the wellness aisle.

Tips and Best Practices for Getting a Good Night of Sleep

While a sleeping pill sounds like a great solution, some can be habit-forming which is not ideal for most athletes. Creating a sleep routine that helps the body to wind down naturally can be as beneficial as many over-the-counter supplements. If you find that you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, consider implementing small changes to assist in getting better rest:

  • Curb screentime starting 90 minutes before your ideal sleep time.
  • Stick to a consistent sleep schedule so that your body can develop a regular circadian rhythm.
  • Consider switching lighting at night to red lights, or at least warm tones, which help your body to start producing melatonin.
  • Add a breathwork practice to your evening routine. Even five minutes of sitting still with deep belly breathing can help regulate your nervous system.
  • Consider cutting caffeine consumption – either entirely or stop consuming it after 12pm
  • Ensure your sleeping space is used only for sleeping so that your body associates it with winding down.

Conclusion

There is no denying the importance of B Vitamins in our diet. However, for those that are health conscious and eating accordingly, it is highly likely that you are already meeting your daily minimum requirements for those micronutrients and don’t require any supplementation. For those that choose to add it to their regimen, consider taking it in the morning to prevent sleep disruption.

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Aesthetyk
Aesthetyk

Providing you with the resources to build your best life and physique.

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