Vitamin D3 in Morning Helps Him Sleep Through the Night (Story 16)

Greg Harrington left a comment on an earlier post:

I have had very similar results [fall asleep more easily] from first-thing in morning D3.(NOTE: I have great flexibility in my schedule — I can sleep/awake whenever I want — so I have been most focused on “restful” sleeping.) Differences: (a) My pre-D3 issue was restless sleep (waking up frequently), not failure to fall asleep. (b) The effect of sleeping all the way through the night was definitely immediate–very first night. (c) Also, most days I also wake up feeling more “rejuvenated”. This is not 100% though.

I asked him for details.

Tell me about yourself.

I’ve lived Austin,TX since 07/2011. Kansas City, MO before that. I’m a software programmer. 6′ 3″. 210 lbs. (White male, mostly German, but completely European descent.)

How did you want to improve your sleep?

I want to sleep through the night without waking up 3-6 times in a 6-9 hour sleep. This problem has lasted for 2-3 years. It sort of crept up on me. I go to sleep between midnight and 2 am.

How much D3 do you take? At what time?

I take 50,000 IU between 8 and 9 am. If I forget or wake up later, I don’t take it. This is the product I take: Bio-Tech D3 in 50,000 IU capsules.

Why 50k? It was available on Amazon, and I calculated that to be what you’d get from 75-90 minutes of full-body sunlight. Thinking about Paleo lifestyle…that seemed reasonable. This is a LOT more than most SE people are taking but I wanted to maximize the effect! 😉

Any effects of D3 on something other than sleep?

I often waking up feeling more rested/rejuvenated. But not every day. I tend to feel tired between 11 pm and midnight.

What happened when you started taking D3 in the morning?

What Is a Good Word For This?

Can you help me? I am looking for a word — maybe a new word — to describe the transformation of an activity from (a) something done only by trained specialists, as part/all of their job to (b) something done by the general public, not as a job. For example:

  • word processing software has made producing an attractive manuscript something that you no longer need hire a secretary to do — you can do it yourself.
  • digital cameras and software have made producing high-end photographs something you no longer need a professional photographer to make.
  • When I was a graduate student I hired a professional to make publication-quality figures for my scientific papers. Now I make them myself.

The transition I am talking about is part of a longer historical sequence that goes like this:

  1. Hobby
  2. Part-time job
  3. Full-time job
  4. Specialization (= division of labor)
  5. [new word goes here]

The best word I can think of is deprofessionalization. Unfortunately that has been used with a different meaning. Amateurization doesn’t work because amateur often means hobbyist. Popularization doesn’t work because the status of the activity has changed — from something done as part of a job to something done not as a job. It is one of several ways a job can change:

  • More efficient. New tools, materials, etc., make it possible to do the same job in a shorter period of time or at lower cost.
  • Higher quality. New tools, etc., make it possible to do a better job.
  • More exclusive (= higher barriers to entry). Something (e.g., licensing requirements) makes it harder for others to compete with you.
  • Less exclusive. Something (e.g., the Internet) makes it easier for others to compete with you.
  • ???. People no longer need to hire you or someone like you to do what you do. They do it themselves.

I care because personal science (science done to help oneself) is an example. For a long time, non-trivial science was done only by professional scientists. Now it is being done by non-professionals.

More What about publicization? Or is it too ugly? I looked up democratization as a possibility but found this under “democratization of photography”:”Serious photography has gone from being the preserve of the reasonably well off to something that just about anyone can take up with minimal expense”. That isn’t what I mean here — that the price of something comes down. Hoipolloization is too long. What about massification?

Still More It really is DIY, I hadn’t thought of that. That exactly conveys the transition from job to non-job. DIYing (or should it be DIYization?) has a nice ring to it, is very short, is not pompous, and would not need to be defined. I also like promethization, deguilding, democratization, and deprofessionalization.

What is a Healthy Scientific Ecosystem?

An area of science is an ecosystem in the sense that research builds on other research. In an ordinary ecosystem the animals and plants need each other. Different organisms add different things. Their contributions fit together. In a healthy scientific ecosystem, different types of research add different things and fit together. Continue reading “What is a Healthy Scientific Ecosystem?”

Vitamin D3 in Morning Has Ambiguous Effects on Sleep and Energy (Story 15)

A reader named Murray Love made a comment about Vitamin D3 and sleep that at least sounds negative:

As a counterpoint [to this post], I’ve been taking 4-5,000 IU of D3 for a couple of months now, and while it might be making me feel better in other ways (more vital, upbeat, and energetic), it has coincided with a stretch of poor sleep. I have what they (hilariously) call “terminal insomnia” — that is, I usually have no trouble at all falling asleep, but I wake regularly at night and am permanently awake very early, often from 4:30am onwards. This has been a periodic problem for a few years now, though this stretch is notably tolerable, for some reason.

I asked for details: Continue reading “Vitamin D3 in Morning Has Ambiguous Effects on Sleep and Energy (Story 15)”

How Things Begin (honey wine vinegar)

At the recent Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, the most impressive product I encountered was a honey wine vinegar made by Slide Ridge Honey, a small family business in northern Utah. I interviewed the developer, Martin James, about how the business and product began.

How did your business begin? Continue reading “How Things Begin (honey wine vinegar)”

50,000 IU Vitamin D3 in Morning Once/Week Improves Sleep (Story 14)

A reader named Tim G commented:

Blood tests last year [2011] showed I had low Vitamin D levels so I was put on a 50,000 IU once/week regimen for 3 months using a prescription D2 (ergocalciferol). A recheck after 3 months showed my level had hardly changed. A search of PubMed showed conflicting views on using the D2 form. So for the next 3 months I used ProHealth D3 Extreme 50,000 IU (via instead of another D2 scrip my doc had given me. I always took the D2 or D3 in the morning (just lucky happenstance.)

The second recheck, after the second 3 mo., showed my Vitamin D level was normal. I hadn’t put it all together until seeing this post, but when using the D3 I had the same effect [as what is described in this post] — when I got tired, I got *really* tired right at bedtime, and slept like a rock.

Even though it has been less than a month since stopping the weekly dose, I have noticed my sleep degrading somewhat, and lately not even being tired when I should.

I asked for details: Continue reading “50,000 IU Vitamin D3 in Morning Once/Week Improves Sleep (Story 14)”

Vitamin D3 and Sleep: 5000 IU Better than 3000 IU (Story 13)

Jenny West, the Englishwoman who discovered independently the value of taking Vitamin D3 in the morning, wrote again:

Since reading some of the other D3 stories, I increased my D3 [morning] dosage to 5000 IU/day [from 3000 IU/day] two days ago.

1. I immediately slept even better – no longer being aware of mid-sleep turning-over.

2. I’ve had a large boost of energy and the clarity of thought that both Robin Barooah and Alexandra Carmichael mentioned.

3. A year-long injury – specifically a dislocated coccyx – has suddenly taken a step forward, and I found myself running for the  Tube last night – something I can’t remember when I last did it. Is this a direct effect of the D3, or an indirect one resulting from much better sleep?

This agrees with what both Alexandra and I experienced: a dose of 4000 IU worked much better than a dose of 2000 IU.

Assorted Links

Thanks to Anne Weiss, Phil Alexander and Dave Lull.

Vitamin D3 in Morning Has No Clear Effect on Sleep (Story 12)

Alex Chernavsky, who has commented as follows (emphasis added):

For what it’s worth, I’ve taken Vitamin D at different times of the day, and I’ve never noticed any effect on my sleep. Of course, my sleep is already pretty good, in the sense that I fall asleep quickly and don’t usually wake up during the night. (My sleep is not good in the sense that I don’t get enough of it.)

By email, I learned that Alex is now taking Vitamin D3 — this particular product, which is vegan (“plant-source”) — at 5000 IU every other day. On weekdays, he takes it at about 8:00 am, on weekends, 9:30-10:00 am.

What might explain Alex’s failure to notice better sleep?

1. Not enough D3. I found that 2000 IU/day had no noticeable effect, whereas 4000 IU/day did produce noticeable benefit. Alex is getting 2500 IU/day — or less, if he takes it too late on the weekends.

2. His source of D3.

3. Individual differences large enough to matter. If you do sensitive psychology experiments, you will learn there are individual differences in everything.

4. Ceiling effect. Alex’s sleep is too good to notice improvement.

Those are the just the obvious possibilities.

Law Schools Sued For Lying About Post-Grad Employment

If it isn’t clear for whom law schools exist, now it is clearer:

The saga began last year, when Strauss and Anziska, both veterans of corporate legal work, filed lawsuits against New York Law School and Thomas M. Cooley Law School, in Michigan. The allegation: That Cooley and NYLS, by allegedly inflating post-graduate employment numbers, had committed fraud and violated local consumer protection acts. . . . The job market for lawyers has been contracting for years; hiring is down across the board. At the same time, law schools have continued to crank out young lawyers at an alarming rate.

This is the legal version of the joke that people go to law school because they aren’t good at math. So far twelve schools have been sued. I look forward to learning how the teachers at those schools react. Which side will they take? .

More about the lawsuits. I blogged about the deception a year ago. The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco was successfully sued for similar deception a few years ago. Inside the Law School Scam, a blog.

Vitamin D3 in Morning Makes Her Fall Asleep Faster and Sleep Better (Story 11)

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.

What brand?

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? Continue reading “Vitamin D3 in Morning Makes Her Fall Asleep Faster and Sleep Better (Story 11)”

The Great Climate Change Debate: Which Side is Funnier?

A few days ago the Wall Street Journal published a letter from 16 people saying what I say, that the case that humans are warming the planet is much weaker than you’d guess from mainstream media. An excerpt:

The number of scientific “heretics” is growing . . .  Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.

Here is a rebuttal by a biological anthropologist named Greg Laden:

Shameful. . . . . Out and out lie, easily falsified  . . . So bad that this is what we can say about the “16 scientists” who signed this letter: They are idiots. . . . . Their ability to make even the simplest of judgements is now in serious question. . . . Let Google forever know who these jokers are.

Peter Gleick, MacArthur “genius” Fellow, also wrote a rebuttal. What about the lack of warming for the last 10 years? Here’s Gleick:

The authors claim there has been a “lack of warming” for 10 years. The reality? 2011 was the 35th year in a row in which global temperatures were above the historical average and 2010 and 2005 were the warmest years on record.

I have not omitted quotation marks. Here’s how Peter Fromhoff at the Union of Concerned Scientists made the same point:

The authors claim there has been a “lack of warming” for 10 years. Here’s what we know: 2011 was the 35th year in a row in which global temperatures were above the historical average and 2010 and 2005 were the warmest years on record.

I went to the link given to support the “35th year in a row” claim. Here is the only global temperature graph at that link:

One Doctor’s View of Personal Science: “You Won’t Learn Anything”

Bryan Castañeda, who lives in Southern California, told me this:

The law firm I work at specializes in toxic torts. We represent people who have been occupationally exposed to chemicals and are now sick, dying, or dead. Most of our clients have been exposed to benzene and developed some kind of leukemia. We sponsor various leukemia charities, walks, and other events. [On January 21, 2012] in Woodland Hills, CA, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society held its first annual Blood Cancer Conference. Although the speakers were mainly doctors, it was a conference meant for laymen. The chair was an oncologist from UCLA Medical Center.

After introductory remarks and the keynote speaker, there were several breakout sessions. I attended a session on acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. The speaker was [Dr. Ravi Bhatia,] a doctor specializing in leukemia from City of Hope in Duarte, CA. His talk was almost exclusively about new drugs and clinical trials. Very dry and dull. Things got more interesting during the question period. At one point, [Dr. Bhatia] told an attendee not to experiment on his own because “you won’t learn anything and others won’t learn from it, either.”

I would have liked to ask Dr. Bhatia three questions:

1. What’s the basis for this extreme claim (“you won’t learn anything and others won’t learn from it”)? Ben Williams, a psychology professor at UC San Diego, wrote a whole book (Surviving “Terminal” Cancer, 2002) about taking an active approach when faced with a very serious disease (in his case, brain cancer). Likewise, the website Patients Like Me is devoted to (among other things) learning from the experimentation of its members. Lots of forums related to various illnesses spread what one person learns to others. MedHelp has many forums devoted to sharing knowledge.

2. What’s so bad about “learning nothing”? Why should that outcome stop one from trying to learn? It doesn’t seem like a good enough reason.

3. Do you have a bias here? In other words, what do you want? Do you prefer that your patients not self= experiment? Doctors may prefer that their patients not experiment for their (the doctors’) own selfish reasons. When a patient self-experiments, it makes their doctor’s job more complicated and makes the doctor less important. If Dr. Bhatia is biased (he wants a certain outcome), it may bias his assessment of the evidence.

Vitamin D3 in Morning Helped Her Sleep Through Night (Story 10)

A woman named Jenny West, who lives in Chiltern Hills (west of London), commented that  she “discovered independently that D3 first thing in the morning works.” I asked her for details:

I (and my family) started to take Vitamin D3 because we are all dyslexic/dyspraxic and had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, a type of depression). Previously we had tried using light boxes (minimal effect), getting out every lunchtime (more useful) and finally 5HTp — which works but is expensive and if you start it once you are in SAD you can end up ‘wired’. Our SAD symptoms were mainly sleepiness and lack of energy (= hibernation), and brain fog (= difficulty concentrating).

We started taking D3 (2000 IU, Solgar) in gelcaps. That first winter, for the first time ever, no one had any seasonal affective disorder. I had had it since the age of 21, my youngest child when only 4 yrs old, and my other two children by the time they were 18 yrs old. At this point, we were taking the D3 at random times, commonly lunchtime or later, often when everyone was together and the vitamin pot was handed around!

This autumn, all the youngsters had moved out. I found I was forgetting the D3, so I moved it to the bathroom and started taking it first thing in the morning (8-9 am). Then in September, I started taking 3000 IU (instead of 2000 IU). We’d been in Greece and had come back to a gloomy autumn and I wanted to make sure SAD didn’t kick in. In a month I started sleeping through the night most nights.

Before I started taking D3 first thing in the morning, I only slept through 10% of my nights, and had been doing so for at least 15 years. I would wake at 3-4 am, but didn’t get up unless I had been awake for more than 3/4 hr. Then I would be awake until 6 am. Now I sleep without a break (other than turning over) from midnight to 8 am. I sleep like this 95% of my nights, and that includes the odd night when I took the D3 much later in the morning because I had slept in – and consequently woke the following night.

As a coeliac, I take the supplements many coeliacs take – probiotics, minerals, vitamins – but none of these affected my sleep either way. So it really looks as if it is the timing plus the correct dose of D3.

BTW the extra daytime energy is fantastic.

She is 5 feet 4 inches, 64 kg. Notice that 2000 IU first thing in the morning did not improve her sleep but 3000 IU first thing in the morning did. I had a similar experience: 2000 IU had no clear effect  but 4000 IU did.

Vitamin D3 in Morning Increases Energy Levels: Story 9

I know Robin Barooah from Quantified Self meetups. When I learned he had started taking Vitamin D3 early in the morning, I asked him what happened:

I’ve been taking it since December 20. I initially thought of trying it immediately on my return from London because I thought that it might help to reduce jet lag, given its apparent coupling with the circadian rhythm.

It didn’t seem to have a dramatic effect on my jet lag – which was as bad as I usually experience it for about the same number of days (around 3-4). However it had a very pronounced effect on my general energy levels. At first I was almost hyperactive, yet my concentration was good. I was using 5000 IU per day, at 7:30 am. The hyperactive feeling subsided but the dramatic improvement of my energy levels (and increased concentration) continued until I decided to reduce the dose to 2000 or 3000 IU per day [from 5000 IU/day]. My mood has improved too, although I think indirectly though feeling more capable and productive.

I decided to reduce the dose because I was concerned that my sleep wasn’t noticeably better than before taking the D3, and might have been worse.   Reducing the dose caused a huge reduction in my energy levels and concentration, and no improvement in sleep. After a week of that I went back to the 5000 IU dose, and again am very happy with the effects. The improvement in sustained concentration is so dramatic that it’s disturbing to think of how much this could have changed my life had I been using it for years (assuming the effect lasts).

It’s possible that my sleep quality has improved in some way that isn’t reflected in my subjective experience of sleeping, and this has caused the improved energy and concentration. I am sleeping about the same length of time, and waking up in the night just as often and feeling about as rested as before I started (which is not quite as rested as I’d like to feel, despite having a lot of energy). I am not taking a multivitamin, so it’s also possible that I’m not getting all of the possible benefit.

Without doubt, this is one of the most effective things I’ve ever tried.

Emphasis added. He takes Now Foods Vitamin D3 (easy to buy on Amazon), the 5000 IU and 1000 IU softgels. He also said:

I used to get quite severe tiredness (enough to need to lie down) at numerous times during the day. Now I seem to get tired just a little in the afternoon, and then progressively so into the evening. There’s a very distinct slowdown in my energy that happens very obviously around 5pm, which is coincidentally around dusk here at the moment.

I have noticed something similar. Before Vitamin D3 early in the morning, I used to get really tired around 10 am. Enough to make me lie down. This happened on more than half of all days. Now that I am taking a lot of D3 (8000 or 10000 IU) first thing in the morning (8 or 9 am) it doesn’t happen at all. (I may eventually go down to a lower dose, such as 5000 IU/day.)

Vitamin D3 First Thing in Morning: 4000 IU Better Than 2000 IU (Story 8)

On a status update, Alexandra Carmichael (of CureTogether) noted she was taking 4000 IU of Vitamin D3. I asked her for details:

I’ve been taking 2000 IU of D3 every morning for many months, but after hearing about your Meetup talk topic from Gary/Ernesto [“Vitamin D3 and Sleep”] and talking to [redacted] about his experience with it, I decided to switch to 4000 IU, starting yesterday. I take it between 6 and 7 am, with my other morning supplements/meds.

Yesterday I noticed an unusual sense of “clear and smooth” mood for much of the day, which is very odd for me. The day after a meetup, I usually experience intensely fluctuating moods (I’ve been tracking hourly moods, and on my worst days, it’s a 3-hour cycle between peaks, like a super rapid cycling, ultradian bipolar – my therapist suggested this term when I showed him my mood tracking data.)

I also slept unusually well – I’ve been having a good deal of trouble sleeping lately, both falling asleep and night waking. Last night I slept a solid 8 hours!!!

That’s a very small sample (one day) of what happens with 4000 IU. However, Alexandra’s experience is similar to mine. I found that 2000 IU of D3 had no clear effect compared to nothing. However, the very first night after I upped the dose to 4000 IU (from 2000 IU) my sleep was noticeably better.

Alex is using Nature’s Bounty 2000 IU Vitamin D3 gelcaps.

Vitamin D3: Which is Better, Gelcaps or Tablets?

I have been getting good sleep improvement from Vitamin D3 (early in the morning) using tablets. However, Tara Grant and Paul have gotten good results with gelcaps. Apparently both formulations work. Which is better?

This story, from a woman I’ll call JMW, suggests gelcaps are better:

Sorting out all the nutrition for [celiac disease], about 3 years ago, [my two boys and I] started taking D3 – 2000 IU of Solgar in capsule form. That first winter, NO ONE had seasonal affective disorder [= depression]. I had had it since I was 21, can’t remember further back than that, the youngest had had it since he was 4 yrs old, can’t remember the others.

We unintentionally proved it needs to be in capsules (i.e. oil) rather than tablets when I mistakenly repeat-ordered with tablets, and everyone got worse until I got the capsules again.

Vitamin D3 in Morning Improves Falling Asleep (Story 7)

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?

5000 IU/day.

What time?

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.