I recently learned that a reader named Paul improved his sleep — he now falls asleep more easily — by taking Vitamin D3 first thing in the morning. He had previously taken the same amount of D3 at other times of day for five months with no obvious effect. Because of my first post about D3 first thing in the morning, he started to take his D3 at that time. Right then his sleep improved.
I asked him for details.
Tell me about yourself.
I live in Jersey City, NJ. I work in advertising. I’m 39 years old, 6 foot 1 inch, and 180 pounds.
How much D3 do you take?
Usually around 8:00 a.m., but sometimes as early as 7:15 or as late as 10:30.
What brand, etc.?
I take Mason softgels. Each softgel is 5000 IU, “from fish liver oil.” Other ingredients are soybean oil, gelatin, glycerin, and purified water.
Tell me more about what happened?
Before taking D3 first thing in the morning, I was having trouble getting to sleep quite often: I’d say 3 times a week on average. I would just feel wound up for no apparent reason. I would toss and turn, usually till 1:00 or 2:00 but sometimes until the sun came up. (It’s possible this was caused by taking D3 in the evening, which I sometimes did. But this had happened to some extent for as long as I can remember, going back to my childhood.) I read your blog post this past November 2 about “Primal Girl”‘s experience with D3, and began taking it right after getting up. Right away (I don’t remember whether it was the first night or not, but it couldn’t have taken more than 2 days because it felt immediate), I started getting tired right around 11:00 or 11:30, which is when I ought to be falling asleep.
Not just “tired,” though—extremely tired. So tired that if I didn’t get to bed I’d fall asleep on the spot. It took me by surprise at first, so that I had to struggle to stay awake while I took out my contact lenses and brushed my teeth. When I went to bed I was out like a light. This continued through most of December.
Over the holidays I went out of town for 8 days and wasn’t taking D3. By the end of my vacation I was having insomnia again. When I got home, I forgot to start taking it again right away and noticed that I was not getting tired like I had been last Fall. I started taking D3 again around the 4th or 5th of January with the same result as previously. I continue to take it and experience the same result.
Addendum by Seth. One reason this story is interesting is that it supports the idea that Vitamin D3 acts like sunlight — which is different than acting like a stimulant (e.g., caffeine). A stimulant will push you toward being awake a few hours after you ingest it. Sunlight, on the other hand, will push you toward being awake a few hours after you are exposed to it and push you toward sleep a dozen hours after that.