I have heard many stories about Vitamin D3 and sleep, often in the comments section of this blog. From now on I am going to number them. (I retitled earlier posts.)
Elizabeth Funderburk emailed me:
I’ve always suffered, rather lightly I guess, from SAD in the winter. In 2010 I started eating primal, which I thought would help – it helped in many ways but I still got gloomier all winter and didn’t even realize it til that first warm sunny spring day when I “woke up.” Your November post about D3 reminded me that I wanted to try it this winter, so I got a bottle and started taking it in the morning. I forgot a few times and took it in the midday or afternoon, and yes, I felt noticeably more spazzy and awake those evenings. Now, if I forget, I just skip it if I remember later than 10 am. I do think I sleep better. I take 4000-6000 IU daily.
I asked her for details.
Tell me about yourself.
I live in Reno, NV, USA, and I’m 34. I do home renovations.
Kirkland D3 2000 IU gelcaps. The first bottle I got was from Walgreen’s, so I guess it was Nature’s Bounty gelcaps. Both seem to work equally well. I have not tried capsules. I take the D3 while I’m waiting for my coffee, usually 6 or 7 am.
How has your sleep improved?
With D3, I would guess I fall asleep in 10-30 minutes most of the time (trouble falling asleep once every 7-10 days). The wave noise thing by my bed is on a 45 minute timer. If the wave sounds stop and I’m still laying there conscious, I categorize that as a “trouble falling asleep” night and I will usually get back up and read for an hour.
In the fall before I started the D3, I’d take more than 45 minutes to fall asleep more often than after starting D3.
But I think more importantly, the quality of my sleep was not restful more often before D3 – I slept well (lightly, vivid dreams, woke up briefly, woke up feeling rested) maybe twice a week. I slept poorly (heavy, dark pit of sleep, no remembered dreams, unwilling to wake up and get up) 5 nights a week. It’s pretty binary; I usually sleep well or poorly, not “so-so.” Now, taking D3, I sleep well 6 nights a week, and poorly once a week.
What do you mean by “spazzy” (“more spazzy in the evening”)?
When I did take it in the afternoon, I noticed that I felt energetic when I’d prefer to feel sleepy – really raring to go at 7 or 8 instead of starting to wind down. I think it would be a fabulous tool for people working swing or graveyard shifts!
“thanks for the reminder” — you mean you had read elsewhere that Vitamin D3 first thing in the morning is a good idea?
You gave me the idea to take it IN THE MORNING. You “reminded” me about it in the sense that it’s one of the few supplements Mark Sisson (mark’s daily apple) suggests everybody could benefit from – I noted that when I gave up grain and started eating primal in early 2010, but it wasn’t something I’d bothered to take at that point, because I spend a lot of time outside in the spring/summer/fall. (Winter, too, but because I’m all covered up in clothes and the sun is so weak, I don’t seem to get the natural level of D3 I need.)