Vitamin D3 in Morning Improves Sleep Three Ways (Story 17)

Chris Cappadocia recently commented here:

After the morning D3 entries started to appear here sometime before Christmas, I switched to taking my D3 first thing in the morning too (between 4-7000 IU) and so far I’ve noticed significantly increased feelings of sleepiness at bedtime, with moderate improvement falling asleep, reduced wakings throughout the night, and much better ability to sleep in.

I asked him for details:

Tell me about yourself.

I am a graduate student. I live in the Greater Toronto Area. I exercise almost daily (6 days a week maybe) with
weights (but nothing especially strenuous); most of the year I walk about an hour a day (but not January and February); I try to eat some vegetables every day, I have taken fish oil for at least six years, and in the last 8
months I’ve started to eat as much fermented food as I can easily obtain (kombucha and apple cider vinegar every day, kefir or yogurt or miso occasionally). Another thing which might be relevant is I’ve consumed a lot of caffeine ever since I started university. Regarding sleep though, I was off caffeine for six months one time and noticed no improvements (whatsoever!) in sleep.

When is “first thing in the morning”?

For about a month (January 2012) I have been taking D3 when I get out of bed, around 8:00 am. For this month, waking up and getting out of bed have roughly coincided. In December 2011 I took it usually at 9:30 am; if I woke up earlier than I preferred, at say 7:00 am, I would wait to take the D3.

Before you started taking D3 first thing in the morning, what time were you taking it? How long had you been taking it at that time? How long have you been taking it first thing in the morning?

I have been taking D3 daily for about 3 years. My daily intake was in the range 5000-12000 IU. I took the D3 throughout the day with food, and therefore somewhat randomly; a typical day on the high end might have been  2000 IU with a small breakfast, 5000 IU at lunch, 3000 IU at supper. Most often it was more like 5000 IU at lunch, 1000 IU at supper. I have been taking D3 in the morning since about early December 2011.

You say morning D3 caused “moderate improvement falling asleep” — you mean you fall asleep faster? 

As an adult it has seemed to take an hour minimum, with two hours not being at all unusual (two or three nights a week). And then I could easily wake up shortly (an hour) after that. These times are all estimates, since
I try to avoid looking at the clock. But of course I do look sometimes, so I have some sense of these times, but it’s not so reliable. Also sometimes it’s not clear whether I’ve slept or not.

With that said, I would estimate the improvements falling asleep to be that in January it has mostly taken me under an hour, perhaps 45 minutes, to fall asleep. Also, I feel more content to just lie there and wait
for sleep, it feels like less of a struggle.

What are the average (median) times taken to fall asleep before and after starting to take your D3 in the morning?

I estimate:

90 minutes to fall asleep before starting morning D3

50 minutes to fall asleep after starting morning D3

over the last 6 months (the last two being the months on morning D3).

You say morning D3 “reduced wakings throughout the night” — Can you estimate the size of the change? What was it before morning D3? What is it now?

Three nights ago I woke up only once in the middle of the night, and it felt like maybe 20 minutes or so. Two nights ago I slept from 9:30 pm until about 7:45 pm, and I don’t recall waking up once. Last night 12:00 pm until
7:00 am, and I don’t recall waking up once. Before morning D3 I could easily wake up at 1:00 am for 5 minutes, 3:00 am for 30 minutes, 5:30 am for 45 minutes. This January, my impression is that I still do wake up three times a night or so, but remain awake only 5 to 20 minutes each time.

You say morning D3 has given you “much better ability to sleep in” — could you say more about this?

For at least the last 4 years I have been waking up earlier than I would prefer. I might go to bed at 11:00 pm and wake up at 6:00 am feeling very tired, unrested, and in a negative mood. (Due to not sleeping enough during those 7 hours; I am fairly confident I do not have sleep apnea.) Waking up early would not be an issue for me if I fell asleep at 11:00 pm and slept straight through until 7:00 am.

So by “much better ability to sleep in” I meant that I have woken up most days in January at 8:00 am, feeling rested but most notably, not feeling like “Ugh, I need more sleep” yet being unable to fall asleep again. I’ve felt like when I wake up, it’s the right time to get up. By the way, I did not notice this effect at 4000 IU. It showed up around 7000 IU.

What brand of D3 are you taking? Gelcaps or tablets?

Carlson gelcaps. Each cap is 1000 IU, in safflower oil. (I do not eat breakfast, so I take these on an empty stomach and this seems to give me no problems.)



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4 Replies to “Vitamin D3 in Morning Improves Sleep Three Ways (Story 17)”

  1. “I’ve noticed significantly increased feelings of sleepiness at bedtime, (…)”

    This looks like a good description of the effect it has on me.

    It would be interesting to verify this specific effect over several individuals.

  2. Seth, why do you never write about sexual health – e.g., the effect of vitamin d on sexual health? Obviously, it’s an aspect of health most people care about, do you not consider it important?

  3. D3 is a stimulant with a “crash” for me. The crash happens about 3 hours after ingesting 5,000 IU. I can now time my sleep to coincide with my expected D3 crash, which has improved my sleep tremendously.

  4. @Chris Cappadocia:
    Maybe it’s time to get a Zeo to get better data on falling asleep and night awakenings?

    @Nate W:
    If one starts talking about improvement of sexual health the media types who want to report about Quantified Self will use it as the core example. It reduces the seriousness of the media reporting and people see self experimentation as “fringe”. Talking about improving sleep is much better for the self experimentation meme.

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