Sleep: Summary of What I’ve Learned

I want to summarize what I’ve learned about how to sleep well. I’ve found about a dozen changes that helped. Taken together they suggest the importance of four dimensions:

1. Healthy brain. My sleep greatly improved when I ate a lot of pork fat. (As far as I can tell, butter produced the same effect.) I wasn’t getting enough animal fat. My sleep also improved when I started eating honey at bedtime. I assume honey raised blood sugar to better levels during sleep, improving brain performance. The great importance of this, I believe, is why we evolved preferences that push us to eat strongly sweet foods, such as fruit, separately and later, i.e., dessert. Bedtime honey also caused my muscles to grow more in response to exercise — a sign of better sleep, since muscles grow during sleep. I have never measured the effect of flaxseed/flaxseed oil on my sleep but the brain benefit was so clear in other ways I’d be surprised if it didn’t improve sleep. Continue reading “Sleep: Summary of What I’ve Learned”

Sunlight and Heart Disease

Vitamin D and Cholesterol: The Importance of the Sun (2009) by David Grimes, a British doctor, contains more than a hundred graphs and tables. Most of the book is about heart disease.  Grimes argues that a great deal of heart disease is due to too little Vitamin D, usually due to too little sunlight. I recently blogged about other work by Dr. Grimes — about the rise and fall of heart disease.

Part of the book is about problems with the cholesterol hypothesis (high cholesterol causes heart disease).  One study found that in men aged 56-65, there was no relationship between death rate and cholesterol level over the next thirty years, during which almost all of them died (Figure 29.2). There is a positive correlation between death rate and cholesterol level for younger men (aged 31-39). The same pattern is seen with women, except that women 60 years or older show the “wrong” correlation: women in the lowest quartile of cholesterol level have by far the highest death rate (Figure 29.5). A female friend of mine in England, who is almost 60, was recently told by her doctor that her cholesterol is dangerously high.

The book was inspired by Grimes’ discovery of a correlation between latitude and heart disease: People who lived further north had more heart disease. This association is clear in the UK, for example (Figure 32.4). Controlling for latitude, he found a correlation between hours of sunshine and heart disease rate (Table 32.3): Towns with more sunshine had less heart disease. No doubt you’ve heard that dietary fat causes heart disease. In the famous Seven Countries study, there was indeed a strong correlation between percent calories from fat and heart disease death rate (Figure 30.2). You haven’t heard that in the same study there was a strong correlation between latitude and dietary fat intake (Figure 30.8): People in the north ate more fat than people in the south. The fat-heart disease correlation in that study could easily be due to a connection between latitude and heart disease. The correlation between latitude and heart disease, on the other hand, persists when diet is controlled for.

Grimes convinced me that the latitude/sunshine correlation with heart disease reflects something important. It is large, appears in many different contexts, and has resisted explanation via confounds. Maybe sunshine reduces heart disease by increasing Vitamin D, as Grimes argues, or maybe by improving sleep — the more sunshine you get, the deeper (= better) your sleep. Sleep is enormously important in fighting off infection, and a variety of data suggest that heart disease has a microbial aspect. As long-time readers of this blog know, I take Vitamin D3 at a fixed time (8 am) every morning, thereby improving my Vitamin D status and improving my sleep.

Grimes and his book illustrate my insider/outsider rule: To make progress, you need to be close enough to the subject (enough of an insider) to have a good understanding but far enough away (enough of an outsider) to be able to speak the truth. As a doctor, Grimes is close to the study of disease etiology. However, he’s a gastroenterologist, not a cardiologist or epidemiologist. This allows him to say whatever he wants about the cause of heart disease. He won’t be punished for heretical ideas.


Cod Liver Oil in Morning Improves Sleep

Kim Øyhus, a programmer who lives in Norway, writes:

Each midwinter and summer I tend to lose my feeling of when it is day or night, especially if I am in the northern parts of Norway, or if the weather is dark clouds for a long time, which often happens. So sorry, no statistics, just my sense of being unhinged from the diurnal cycle.

Taking 1-2 spoons [= 7-14 ml] of cod liver oil in the morning [7-9 am] got me back to this rhythm in about 3-5 hours. It even works for fixing my diurnal rhythm after partying to sunrise, but only after a days rest.

Is this due to Vitamin D3? (I have collected many examples of Vitamin D3 in the morning improving sleep.) Quite possibly. Cod liver oil contains Vitamin D3. When taking a Vitamin D3 supplement, the minimum dose needed to see the effect, based on the examples I’ve collected, seems to be about 1000 IU. I didn’t notice anything when I took 2000 IU. The effect first appeared at a dose of 4000 IU and was a bit larger at 6000 IU. Kim is taking 600-1100 IU of Vitamin D3, so that is consistent with the Vitamin D3 in the cod liver oil being the source of the effect.

Vitamin D3 in Morning Improves Sleep After All (Story 26)

Adam Clemans (28 years old, about 80 kg, pharmacist, lives in Shanghai) commented on a recent post that Vitamin D3 didn’t seem to improve his sleep (“I can’t say I noticed any improvement in my sleep from Vitamin D”). He took 4000 IU in drop form right after he woke up.

I wrote him for details. I said that since 4000 IU was the lowest dose I found effective, he might want to try a higher dose. Adam answered my questions and said he would try a higher dose. Two weeks later he wrote again:

I started taking 4 drops (8000 IU) of Vitamin D3 1st thing in the morning (up from 2 drops or 4000 IU); my sleep seemed to improve immediately and quite dramatically. I had been struggling with middle-of-the-night awakening for a week or so, but after the change I slept like a brick or a baby (pick your metaphor). I would like to experiment with this more before I say I am sold on it, but for now it seems to be working well.

He’d been doing the higher dose for two weeks. Hard to explain as a placebo effect.

Assorted Links

Thanks to Paul Nash.

JAMA Jumps to Conclusions About Vitamin D

my view that it is important to take Vitamin D in the morning. (Because a study in which this wasn’t done found no effect.) My view implies that blood levels may not matter — you can get high levels of Vitamin D by taking it at what I consider the wrong times of day. The usual thinking about Vitamin D has been that blood level is all that matters.

The editors of JAMA considered the Vitamin D study so important that they asked someone (Dr. Jeffrey Linder, associated with Harvard Medical School) to write a commentary — an associated editorial that puts the new finding in context.

Linder’s commentary (might be gated) is important because (a) it is a kind of random sample of how top research doctors think (he was selected to write it) and (b) he completely fails to grasp that the time of day Vitamin D is taken might matter. Colds, the immune system, sleep, time of day — it’s not far-fetched. When you do an experiment to see if X causes Y, and find no effect, I believe that there are usually many possible reasons other than X never causes Y.  Something was wrong with the equipment, something was wrong with your X (e.g., it was stale), something was wrong with your measurements (e.g., ceiling effect), and on and on. Linder did not see it this way.

The 2011 IOM report called for additional research to determine whether vitamin D therapy reduces the incidence of respiratory tract infections. The VIDARIS trial [= the new study] has rigorously addressed this question. Results suggest that vitamin D should join the therapies listed in the Cochrane reviewsas being ineffective for preventing or treating upper respiratory tract infections in healthy adults.

He seriously thinks one null result proves something. Sure, the new study is “rigorous” in certain ways. But it was far from exhaustive. It did not explore the many ways Vitamin D may be given, for example. It did not consider the possibility that blood levels don’t matter. Linder’s combination of (a) interest in rigor and (b) failure to understand the importance of exhaustive reminds me of a friend. When she was in 1st grade she had a pile of pennies. She knew how many she had — she had counted them. However, she did not know how to subtract. When she spent some of her pennies, to find out how many she had left she had to count them all over again.

My friend had half the skills an accountant needs. Linder’s commentary reflects only half the skills a scientist needs. To the extent that he is representative of top research doctors, this is shocking. It is as if most accountants at Arthur Andersen didn’t know how to subtract.

I have asked Dr. Linder if he has any response. If he does, I will post it.

Vitamin D3 Eliminated Colds and Improved Sleep When Taken in the Morning (Stories 24 and 25)

A year and a half ago, the father of a friend of mine started taking Vitamin D3, 5000 IU/day at around 7 am — soon after getting up. That his regimen is exactly what I’d recommend (good dose, good time of day) is a coincidence — he doesn’t read this blog. He used to get 3 or 4 terrible colds every year, year after year. Since he started the Vitamin D3, he hasn’t gotten any. “A huge lifestyle improvement,” said my friend. His dad studied engineering at Caltech and is a considerable skeptic about new this and that.

Much more recently his mother changed the time of day she took her usual dose of Vitamin D3. For years she had been taking half in the morning (with a calcium supplement) and half at night. Two weeks ago she started taking the whole dose in the morning. Immediately — the first night — her sleep improved. She used to wake up every 2 hours. Since taking the Vitamin D3 in the morning, she has been waking up only every 3-6 hours. A few days ago, my friend reports she had “her best sleep in years”.

Sleep and immune function are linked in many ways beyond the fact that we sleep more when we’re sick. A molecule that promotes sleep turned out to be very close to a molecule that produces fever, for example. I found that when I did two things to improve my sleep (more standing, more morning light) I stopped getting colds. So it makes sense that a treatment that improves one (sleep or immune function) would also improve the other (immune function or sleep).

A few days ago I posted a link about a recent Vitamin D study that  found no effect of Vitamin D on colds. The study completely neglected importance of time of day by giving one large injection of Vitamin D (100,000 IU) per month at unspecified time. I commented: “One more Vitamin D experiment that failed to have subjects take the Vitamin D early in the morning — the time it appears most likely to have a good effect.” These two stories, which I learned about after that post, support my comment. What’s interesting is that the researchers who do Vitamin D studies keep failing to take time of day into account and keep failing to find an effect and keep failing to figure out why. I have gathered 23 anecdotes that suggest that their studies are failing because they are failing to make sure their subjects take their Vitamin D early in the morning. Yet these researchers, if they resemble most medical researchers, disparage anecdotes. (Disparagement of anecdotes reaches its apotheosis in “evidence-based medicine”.) The same anecdotes that, I believe, contain the information they need to do a successful Vitamin D clinical trial. Could there be a serious problem with how Vitamin D researchers are trained to do research? A better approach would be to study anecdotes to get ideas about causation and then test those ideas. This isn’t complicated or hard to understand, but I haven’t heard of it being taught. If you understand this method, you treasure anecdotes rather than dismiss them (“anecdotal evidence”).


Assorted Links

Thanks to Bryan Castañeda.

Vitamin D3 Timing and Sleep: More from Tara Grant

It is from Tara Grant, a California journalist whom I met at the 2011 Ancestral Health Symposium, that I got the idea that the time of day you take Vitamin D3 matters (morning good, evening bad). She recently wrote more about her experience:

I had never had a sleep problem growing up, or during my 20s or early 30s. I kept a regular sleep cycle, woke up rested, preformed well in school and never needed to have naps. However, when I was in my mid-to-late 30s, the sleep problems started. [She woke up many times per night.] This was around the same time I went Primal and adopted several changes in my diet and lifestyle, including taking supplements. One of those supplements was Vitamin D3 [10,000 IU/day], something I had never taken before.

The sleep problems persisted for a couple of years. When I changed the time of day I took my Vitamin D [making sure to take it in the morning, never in the evening], they resolved. I didn’t change anything else, as I didn’t need to.

My experience has been that Vitamin D3 in the morning improved my sleep and that the dose needed to get this improvement was more than 2000 IU. Doses of 4000 IU and more were effective. More than 20 people have had similar experiences. A few people have found that Vitamin D3 in the morning did not improve their sleep.

How Much Vitamin D Should I Take?

A new study of a quarter million Copenhagen residents found that those with Vitamin D blood levels of 40-70 nmol/L [16-28 ng/ml] had the lowest death rate. People with lower and higher amounts had higher death rates, in other words. The death rate versus blood level function has a reverse-J shape, i.e., too little is worse than too much. About 1% of the sample had levels above 140 nmol/L [56 ng/ml], for practical purposes a “high” level.

Because Vitamin D3 seems to have a big time-of-day-dependent effect on sleep (Vitamin D in the morning improves sleep, Vitamin D in the evening makes sleep worse) it is plausible that people with high Vitamin D levels were more likely to take it in the evening than those with moderate levels and this is why they had higher mortality. Likewise, it is plausible that those with moderate levels were more likely to take Vitamin D in the morning than those with low levels and better sleep explains the lower mortality. Although epidemiologists adjust for smoking in studies like this, they don’t yet adjust for sleep quality. It is also plausible that people who were more sick took more Vitamin D — hoping it would improve their health.

I think I have a better way to decide how much Vitamin D3 to take: choose the minimum amount that produces the best sleep. Sleep is so strongly connected with health that I wouldn’t want to choose worse sleep over better sleep simply because of epidemiology. At the same time that I greatly improved my sleep, I stopped getting easy-to-notice colds. Apparently my immune system was doing a better job of fighting them off.

There is evidence that Vitamin D improves immune function independently of its effect on sleep. A 2009 survey found that “those with less than 10 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter [25 nmol/L] of blood, considered low, were nearly 40 percent more likely to have had a respiratory infection [over what period of time?] than those with vitamin D levels of 30 ng/ml [75 nmol/L] or higher.”

So those three studies (epidemiology, lab, epidemiology) taken together make a good case that my Vitamin D levels should be at least 25 ng/ml. I will have my Vitamin D level measured soon and it will be interesting to see how much an approach based purely on self-measurement (find the minimum amount of Vitamin D that optimizes sleep) agrees with this.

Thanks to Chase Saunders.

More. In an earlier version of this post I confused ng/ml with nmol/L.

Vitamin D3 in Morning: Moving D3 to Morning Improves Sleep (Story 23)

Jim Breed has been taking large amounts of Vitamin D3 (5000-10000 IU/day) since 2008. Yet when he switched to taking it in the morning, his sleep quickly improved. Here’s what happened:

I’m a married man, 230-240 pounds over the past 4 years, born in 1957, and I work as an engineer for the Department of Energy in an office. I try to do cardio for thirty minutes four times a week.

In 2008, I began taking 5-10000 IU Vitamin D3 daily. My blood tests:

October 2009  50 ng/ml
August 2010    65 ng/ml
May 2012         84 ng/ml

My doctor said to reduce my intake from 10000 IU to 5000 IU when it hit 84, as he prefers levels under 80.

Prior to beginning the morning D, I took one 5000 IU gel cap two times during the day. I usually took my supplements at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I might take 5000 at lunch and 5000 at dinner. Since I started taking Vitamin D in 2008, I have not missed a day of work due to illnessk. This is unusual. Throughout grade school, high school, college, and my work for the Federal Government, I have never had a complete year where I wasn’t sidelined by some cold, flu, what have you for an unscheduled absence due to sickness

In November 2011, I started reading posts on your blog about morning D affecting sleep. I tried taking my Vitamin D in the morning — upon awakening, which is usually 6:30 am. Definitely by 8:30 am. Within a week, I noticed two things:

1. I started sleeping all night without waking in the middle of the night. For years, I have had trouble sleeping throughout the night. I usually slept with earphones so I could listen to the radio around 2 am for an hour until I fell asleep again. Once I woke up, it took a lot to get back to sleep. Now, I may stir for a few minutes or get up to use the toilet, but I fall back to sleep very quickly.

2. My bed times became more consistent and earlier. I married my wife in 2005. It had been a consistent source of tension between us that she liked to go to bed earlier than me (10:30 pm for her 11:30 for me). I wasn’t tired. Midnight would have been better for me. Since the morning D, I have consistently beaten my wife to bed. I am just done for the day and ready to go to sleep by 10:30. This is truly a change for the better.

I did not expect these results. I reasoned that since my blood levels were so high, when I took D would not matter. I was surprised to be wrong.

I also found that an unexpected reduction in my dosage screwed up my sleep. This was really exciting. My wife and I traveled to Livermore, CA from our home in KS. She gave me some travel supplement packs that she makes up and it did not have our usual brand of D. Here is how the trip went.

  1. Friday-fly to CA 10,000 iu at waking; great sleep in hotel room
  2. Saturday-travel D; great sleep in hotel room
  3. Sunday-travel D; great sleep in hotel room
  4. Monday-travel D; great sleep in hotel room
  5. Tues-travel D; restless sleep in hotel room. I heard the A/C unit. The bed was uncomfortable. I fell asleep during a meeting with the lights down at work
  6. Wed-travel D; terrible sleep in hotel room. In a meeting at the lab I make a mental note to ask my wife what the travel dosage is.

It turns out that the travel dosage was 1000 IU. I thought it was just a different brand. Definitely, 1000 IU was not enough. I immediately went to Walgreens and got some 5000 IU gelcaps and began taking the 10000 IU upon waking. It took about a week to re-establish my previous restful sleep.

Reducing my dosage from 10000 IU to 5000 IU did not disturb my restful sleep patterns- When my doctor had me cut back to 5000 IU at the beginning of May, I didn’t notice any decrease in restful sleep. If anything, it seems to be better than when I was taking 10000 IU.

Surprising Predictions From Self-Measurement

Patrick Tucker, an editor at The Futurist, posted a request on the Quantified Self Forums for “astounding” predictions based on self-quantification. He is writing a book about using data to make predictions.

Here are examples from my self-measurement:

1. Drinking sugar water causes weight loss. The self-quantification was measuring my weight. It began when I found a new way to lose weight, which pushed me to try to explain why it worked. The explanation I came up with — a new theory of weight control — made two predictions that via self-experimentation I found to be true. That gave me faith in the theory. Then the theory suggested a really surprising conclusion, that loss of appetite during a trip to Paris was due to the sugar-sweetened soft drinks I had been drinking. If so, drinking sugar water should cause weight loss. (The nearly-universal belief is that sugar causes weight gain, of course.) I tested this prediction and it was true. More.

2. Seeing faces in the morning improves mood the next day (but not the same day). This is so surprising I’ll spell it out: Seeing faces Monday morning improves my mood on Tuesday but not Monday. For years I measured my sleep trying to reduce early awakening. Finally I figured out that not eating breakfast helped. There was no breakfast during the Stone Age; this led me to take seriously the idea that other non-Stone-Age aspects of my life were also hurting my sleep. That was one reason I decided to watch to watch a certain TV show one morning. It had no immediate effect. However, the next morning I woke up feeling great. Via self-measurement of mood, I determined it was the faces on TV that produced the effect, confirmed the effect many times, and learned what details of the situation (e.g., face size) controlled the effect. More.

3. One-legged standing improves sleep. Via self-measurement I determined that how much I stood during a day controlled how well I slept. If I stood a long time, I slept better. Ten years later I woke one day after having slept much better than usual. The previous day had been unusual in many ways. One of them was so tiny that at first I overlooked it: I had stood on one leg a few times. Just for a few minutes. Yet it turned out that it was the one-legged standing that had improved my sleep. Without the previous work on ordinary standing I would have ignored the one-legged standing — it seemed trivial.

4. Butter is healthy. I found that butter improved how fast I can do arithmetic problems. No doubt it improves brain function measured in other ways. Because the optimum nutrition for the brain will be close to the optimum nutrition for the rest of the body — at least, this is what I believe — I predict that butter will turn out to be healthy for my whole body, not just my brain.

5. Mainstream Vitamin D research is all messed up. Via self-measurement I confirmed Tara Grant’s conclusion that taking Vitamin D3 in the morning (rather than later) improved her sleep. It improved my sleep, too. When I had taken it at other times of day I had noticed nothing. Apparently the timing of Vitamin D — the time of day that you take it — matters enormously. Take it at the right time in the morning: obvious good effect. Take it late in the evening: obvious bad effect. Vitamin D researchers haven’t realized this. They have neither controlled when Vitamin D is taken (in experiments) nor measured when it is taken (in surveys). Because timing matters so much it is as if they have done their research failing to control or measure dose. If you fail to control/measure dose, whatever conclusion you reach (good/no effect/bad) depends entirely on what dose your subjects happened to take. And you have no idea what dose that is.

Effect of Vitamin D3 on My Sleep

I have blogged many times about biohacker Tara Grant’s discovery that she slept much better if she took Vitamin D3 in the morning rather than later. Many people reported similar experiences, with a few exceptions. Lots of professional research has studied Vitamin D3 but the researchers appear to have no idea of this effect. They don’t control the time of day that subjects take D3 and don’t measure sleep. If the time of day of Vitamin D3 makes a big difference, measuring Vitamin D3 status via blood levels makes no sense. Quite likely other benefits of Vitamin D3 require taking it at the right time of day. Taking Vitamin D3 at a bad time of day could easily produce the same blood level as taking it at a good time of day. Continue reading “Effect of Vitamin D3 on My Sleep”

Vitamin D3 in Morning: Moving D3 & Fish Oil from Evening to Morning Improves Sleep (Story 22)

A few weeks ago I got an email from a reader named Alexander Vinther:

I take Vitamin D3 (2000 units) in the morning (between 7 and 9 am) together with fish oil. My sleep is deeper and I don’t wake up at odd times during the night. I tried increasing my intake 3-fold [= to 6000 IU] but felt too energetic/restless when going to bed (regardless of the time). I stopped taking Vitamin D3 (the regular dose) for a while to check my results only to start waking up in the night (or waking up early).  Before this, my intake of D3 and fish oil was usually in the evening (everybody seems to recommend taking vitamins in the evening). The change from evening to morning was with both fish oil and D3 (I have always been taking them simultaneously) with huge improvement in sleep.

This is especially interesting because he made the evening-to-morning change long before I blogged about it. I asked for details.

Tell me about yourself.

Male, 24 years old. I live in Denmark and study philosophy. I exercise a lot (6 times a week, crossfit).

What were your sleep and energy like before you started taking D3 and fish oil in the morning?

My energy levels during the day would change a lot, sometimes with a huge surge in energy in the evening making falling asleep difficult. This would lead to few hours of sleep or a general feeling of not having slept at all (this in comparison to what I feel now, the feeling of “deep” sleep). [This is what happened when he was taking D3 and fish oil in the evening. –Seth]

Have you tried other D3 dosages?

I started out with 1400 units of Vitamin D3. I now take a multivitamin which has a small amount of D3, hence the 2000 units. I didn’t notice a difference between 1400 and 2000 units, but 6000 made me giddy/restless for the first week, which is for as long as I tried that particular dosage. 4000 units seems to have the same effect as 2000 units, but it is a dosage I haven’t taken for more than a week.

How long have you been taking Vitamin D3 in the morning?

I switched the time (from evening to morning) of my D3 intake about a year ago. Stumbling upon your blog confirmed my belief in or underlined the evidence for a difference in morning/evening intake.

How soon after you started D3 and fish oil in the morning (instead of the evening) did you notice better sleep?

I would say I see improvements in my sleep 3-4 days after D3 intake

What brands of Vitamin D3 and fish oil do you use?

My D3 brand is Danish: Naturdrogeriet D Mega. My fish oil brand is Biosym EPA-GLA+. I take 2 capsules containing a total of 1200 mg fish oil (DHA, EPA, GLA), 600 mg Borago oil and 700 mg soyalecithin.

Vitamin D3 in Morning: 7000 IU Improves Sleep (Story 21)

Someone who wishes to be anonymous wrote me:

I had been taking 400 IU D3+calcium morning noon and night for years. I usually fell asleep fitfully. My sleep was rarely uninterrupted throughout the night.

After reading your blog, I started taking all three pills in the morning. Getting to sleep was easier, but sleep was still usually fitful.

After more reading of your blog, I stopped the D3+calcium and switched to 7000 IU of D3 every morning. Within a couple days, my usual pattern became that I fell asleep quickly and slept soundly through the night.

It is now three weeks, and I continue to enjoy excellent sleep. I noticed no changes in energy or mood.

I asked some questions.

Tell me about yourself.

I’m an academic (professor of decision sciences), 52 years old. I live in Philadelphia.

What you mean by “I fell asleep fitfully”?

Even if I was tired, sleep did not come easily. I had no worries, so it wasn’t that.

How long did/does it usually took/take you to fall asleep under the three conditions?

Original 400 IU D3+ calcium 3 times/day: 1/2 hour was usual.
All 3 are taken in morning: 15-30 minutes, but still awakening in the night frequently
7000 IU in morning: 10-15 minutes, and sleeping like a log.

What time do you wake up? What time do you take the 7000 IU?

I usually wake between 7 and 7:15.  Sometimes I head straight for the kitchen (where the vitamins are stored) and I take them immediately.  Other times I head for the shower and then to the kitchen, whereupon I take the vitamins.

What brand of Vitamin D3 do you take now?

Vitamin Shoppe


Vitamin D3 in Morning: Mixed Evidence From PaleoHacks

Paleo Hacks has a thread about timing of Vitamin D3. Better in morning (my and several other people’s experience) or evening (Robb Wolf’s experience)?

This answer supports morning:

I prefer taking it in the morning. I think it helps set my circadian rhythm.

This answer supports night:

I prefer it at night. I find I sleep better.

This answer supports morning:

I had trouble sleeping when I started Paleo and was taking my D3 at night before bed. Was nervous and couldn’t seem to settle down. No problems since I went to morning, I have them with my fish oil right after breakfast.

By the time you read this there will probably be more evidence.

Thanks to Melissa McEwen.

Vitamin D3 in Morning: 4000 IU Better Than 1000 IU (Story 20)

Daniel Lemire, a Canadian computer science professor, left the following comment here

I have irregularly taken 1000 UI  in the morning for years with no noticeable effect.

For about two years, I have had poor sleeping patterns characterized mostly by the fact that I tend to go to bed at 1am or later (and I get up around 7:15 am [woken up by an alarm clock]). Whenever I would try to go to bed earlier, I would simply fail to fall asleep.

After reading this blog, I increased my intake of D3 to 4-5,000 IU. I’m now falling asleep about an hour earlier. This could be a placebo effect, of course, but I consider it a very significant improvement.

It is unclear whether I have more energy. I don’t know how to measure such an effect. I expect that I’m less irritable, but that’s a side-effect of getting more sleep.

I asked him for details. Continue reading “Vitamin D3 in Morning: 4000 IU Better Than 1000 IU (Story 20)”

Vitamin D3 in Morning (1000 IU) Improves Rosacea (Story 19)

A reader named Bob H left the following comment:

I’m on 1000 [IU] a day D3 in the morning. I have not noticed any difference in sleep, but my rosacea has cleared up considerably.

Rosacea is not usually believed to be due to Vitamin D3 deficiency. For example, Wikipedia lists many causes, but not that. Here is another list of causes that does not include Vitamin D3 deficiency. The Vitamin D Council says Vitamin D “cannot be used to prevent or treat rosacea” (but without supporting evidence). On the other hand, when people with rosacea consider the question, they find evidence that D3 helps rosacea. If you have rosacea and have tried D3, please comment or email me about what happened.

I asked Bob H for details.

Tell me about yourself.

47 year old, white, IT worker, 230 lbs, runner, beer drinker, Maryland, but I lived in the Netherlands from Jun-2008-Jul-2011.

When did you start taking 1000 IU/day D3 in the morning? Were you taking D3 before this?

I started taking it about 6-8 weeks ago, in the morning, about 9:00 am 1000 IU – my first time for D3.

Please describe your rosacea before you started 1000/day D3 in the morning. please describe your rosacea now.

I’ve had consistent rosacea for years on my chest. It has not gone away completely, but it’s much better.

Please describe your sleep.

My sleep was good before I started taking D3, and is still good.

Most of the success stories about Vitamin D3 in the morning have involved 4000 IU/day or more. Why did you decide to try 1000 IU/day?

I wanted to start out at a lower dose and build up.

What brand and form of D3 do you take?

1000 IU NatureMade gel.

Vitamin D3 in Morning Makes Waking Up Easier (Story 18)

David Cramer left the following comment here:

Since you started posting these, I’ve been taking D3 in the mornings and notice that I wake up much more easily. I started with just 400 IU, then increased it to 800 IU. One day I took 1200 IU and woke up at 4:00 AM the next day. I’ve gone back to 800 IU since 4:00 AM seems a bit early. For the past week, I’ve also been giving one of my daughters (11 years old) 400 IU each morning, and she seems easier to wake up in the morning (normally it’s quite difficult.

I asked him for details.

Tell me about yourself.

I’m in my 40s and live in Austin, Texas and have two daughters. I first encountered your work when I read about the SLD in Levitt and Dubner’s blog. I read the pdf of your papers linked from that blog post and tried the SLD with sugar water. At the time, I was at the high end of my ideal weight, but was not motivated by weight as much as curiosity. I found the irony and absurdity of the SLD appealing. I also liked the idea that it could be tested easily and cheaply. I went from ~170 to ~145 lb in couple of months, but really only did SLD for ~3 weeks. I now occasionally have a nose clipped green smoothie in the morning.

How long have you been taking D3 in the morning? What time do you take it?

I started a couple of weeks ago after you started blogging about it. I take it around 7:00 AM. That would normally be about an hours after I wake up.

The most obvious change since you started taking it is that you wake up more easily? How soon did this start after you started the D3?

Yes, that’s the change I notice. It may be improving my sleep quality, but that’s very subjective and not something I track closely anyway. The effect started almost immediately.

Could you describe (a) how easy it was to wake up in the month before you started the D3 and (b) how easy it was to wake up after you started the D3?

I would often set three alarms on my cell phone and return to bed formore sleep after dismissing the first two. After D3, I usually wake up before my alarm and don’t feel the need to go back to sleep (e.g. after going to the bathroom). Post-D3, when I wake up, I’m awake. Previously, I was still very drowsy for some time, even after getting up.

What time do you usually wake up? get out of bed? do you use an alarm clock to wake yourself in the morning?

Usually 6 or 6:30. Occasionally a little earlier if I have an early meeting at work.

Did D3 have any effect on how easily you fall asleep in the evening? On how often you wake up in the middle of the night?

I haven’t noticed any difference in falling asleep. I don’t typically wake up in the middle of the night.

How much sunlight do you get on a typical morning?

Although I live in Texas, I doubt I get much in the morning this time of year. I do bike to work a couple of times a week, but my arms and legs would be covered. I might even wear gloves if it’s cold. I work inside in an office during the day.

What brand of D3 do you use? what form (e.g., gelcap)?

NOW gelcaps.

How can you tell your daughter “seems to find it easier to wake up in the morning”?

She’s a sound sleeper. Normally it requires repeated reminders and threats to get her up. Even after you get her out of bed, she’ll fall back asleep on the couch. With 400 IU, I’m noticing less of that. I plan to up to 800 IU this week to see if there’s a difference.

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: Continue reading “Vitamin D3 in Morning Improves Sleep Three Ways (Story 17)”