Here’s some good news about sleep apnea. It’s possible that a simple nutritional supplement could help you control your sleep apnea. People with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to suffer sleep problems. And, it turns out, improving vitamin D levels might just improve sleep quality.
This is very preliminary research, so it’s not very authoritative. But we’ll have to file it the “Can’t Hurt,” subheading–increasing your vitamin D is likely to have nothing but positive results for you. Unless, of course, you use taking more vitamin D as an excuse to not get your snoring or sleep apnea checked out. Let’s be clear: even if research does bear out this initial theory, it’s only ever going to be a supportive treatment for sleep apnea.
The Study Findings
The current study was a straightforward (if small) clinical trial for a small number of patients with various types of sleep disorder, including sleep apnea and insomnia. Half were given vitamin D supplements, while the other half was given a placebo. At the end of the study, which lasted for three months, any changes in sleep quality were assessed, along with various other health parameters, including vitamin D levels.
They found that after three months, the patients who had received vitamin D had improved their sleep significantly more than those who had taken a placebo.
Not a Bad Thing to Try
Authors of this study didn’t really try to explain the effect, just note it. They are not, however, the first researchers to study the link between vitamin D and sleep. Earlier studies have shown that people with low vitamin D have shorter sleep and have more difficulty maintaining sleep, both good hints at undiagnosed sleep apnea. There are even a few earlier studies that show increasing vitamin D might help improve sleep apnea.
Although the evidence of benefits is still sparse, this is probably something that we should all try to improve our sleep. Why? Because more than half of all Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, especially in the winter.
Vitamin D is a vitamin our body can make, but it relies on sunshine to manufacture the nutrient. In the winter, we don’t get much sunshine, so our vitamin D levels drop. Vitamin D isn’t common in food, but it’s easy to find in supplements, and it has been added to many different foods. So, if you’re finding that you’re not getting enough rest at night, taking vitamin D supplements might just be a good thing to try.
Don’t Skip Testing
However, there’s no justification in relying on vitamin D to take the place of sleep apnea treatment. At best, the improvement levels in the clinical trial are supportive for sleep apnea treatment. They are no substitute.