Vitamin E It is one of the vitamins we need most. Vitamin E keeps our immune system healthy and acts as a strong antioxidant, protecting our cells from free radical damage. Does this essential nutrient also help with sleep? Research has been done on how vitamin E can help improve sleep deprivation, insomnia and its effects on sleep patterns.
The impact of lack of sleep on the human body
While it may seem normal with our fast paced lifestyles, not getting enough sleep can have consequences for your health. It’s important to prioritise you sleep when and if you can. Here are just a few ways that a lack of sleep can negatively affect your health.
- Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. Leptin and ghrelin control hunger, and they are affected by sleep levels.
- Sleep deprivation decreases immune function and recovery time from illnesses. It can also make you more prone to respiratory illnesses which, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, is extremely important to note.
- = Sleep helps restore and rebuild blood vessels, or helps maintain blood sugar levels.
- Sleep deprivation can contribute to depression/anxiety. Low sleep can cause a depressed mood and/or irritability and can compound existing mental health problems.
- Can cause forgetfulness or difficulties in remembering new concepts. Memory retention can be affected by lack of sleep as your brain forms connections that help your remember and process new information while you sleep.
How Vitamin E Helps with Sleep
So how can vitamin E help us get a better nights sleep? There have been a variety of studies with vitamin E, what it helps protect and maintain, and just how it contributes to our sleep and sleeping patterns or any ailments that might affect our sleep.
- Potentially offers protection against the memory impairment caused by sleep loss. Vitamin E works to protect the hippocampus, a part if the brain that is critical to memory consolidation. One study showed that vitamin E helped reduced the oxidative stress that impairs learning and memory processes caused my sleep deprivation.
- Improve sleep apnea. Those that suffer from sleep apnea have been found to have low levels of vitamin E. Some studies have shown that elevating levels of vitamin E may help to improve breathing at night and sleep quality for those with this condition.
- Helps with leg discomfort. Discomfort in the legs can lead to insomnia, which can affect a person's quality of life. A study of hemodialysis patients found that vitamin E combined with vitamin C may reduce its severity.
Foods High in Vitamin E
Eating vitamin E rich foods, along with a wide and balanced variety of whole foods is a good way of getting the vitamin E that you need to help improve your sleep, as vitamin E works best when consumed with other vitamins like, vitamin C and vitamin B3. Please speak with your doctor if you are considering a vitamin E supplementation to improve your sleep quality as vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that there is a higher potential for toxicity if too much is taken.
Vitamin E can be found in foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish and fruit. Here are some foods that contain the most vitamin E.
- Wheat Germ Oil
- Sunflower Seeds