does vitamin b complex make you sleepy?
Diet

Does Taking Vitamin B Complex Before Bed Help You Sleep?

B vitamins enable the body to regulate sleep schedules so that we feel sleepy or be alert at the right times. A diet lacking in B vitamins can adversely affect the body because serotonin and melatonin perform vital functions, aside from affecting sleep. However, taking B complex supplements before bed can throw this cycle out of sync.

B vitamins are essential building blocks for serotonin and melatonin. Your body produces serotonin in response to sunlight, whereas it produces melatonin in response to darkness. If you take B vitamins before going to bed, they can keep you awake because serotonin makes you more alert while melatonin makes you more sleepy.

Excess B vitamins before bed can cause your body to produce serotonin and melatonin at the wrong times. This means that you’ll feel alert at night and sleepy during the day, which is the opposite of what you want. However, the relationship between vitamins and insomnia is complex and needs to be explored further.

Do B Vitamins Cause Insomnia?

The Sleep Journal found that multivitamin users woke up more during the night, were awake for longer, had to use more sleep medications, and experienced a higher rate of insomnia.

This could be for the following reasons:

  • Some people interact with vitamins differently, in a way that causes them to wake up more often during the night.
  • The interaction between different vitamins together caused poor quality sleep.
  • People who experienced poor sleep are statistically more likely to start taking vitamins.
  • People who experience depression and anxiety, which are linked to poor sleep, are more statistically likely to start taking vitamins.

Unfortunately, there weren’t many previous studies to draw on for evidence. So, their findings were only intended to start a discussion rather than settle the debate.

Other studies into too much B vitamin complex show a link to insomnia. Thiamine (B1) has various side effects if you take a high dose, including headaches, irritability, rapid pulse rate, and insomnia.

Vitamin B6 can also cause vivid dreaming, waking you up during the night. Also, B6 is a diuretic, so you may feel the need to go to the toilet during the night.

Overall, many people report that B vitamins keep them awake.

vitamin b12 dosage for sleep

How Does Vitamin B Help You Sleep?

When taken correctly, B vitamins can enable you to sleep better. Taken incorrectly, they can have the opposite effect.

Vitamins B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12 can all play a part in sleep, and here’s why:

Tryptophan Regulation

B vitamins regulate the body’s level of tryptophan, an amino acid that’s vital for sleep.

Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, and the body uses it as an essential ingredient in hormone production. The body cannot synthesize tryptophan on its own, so you need to get it from your diet or supplements.

Serotonin is a ‘neurotransmitter,’ so it helps the brain send messages from one neuron to another. The neurochemical helps you feel happy, energized, and positive, and it also plays a part in stimulating appetite and regulating emotions.

Melatonin (B12) is the hormone at the center of the sleep cycle. Your body produces and releases more of it as it gets darker, thus promoting sleep. Without it, you won’t feel naturally tired.

You can only find very small amounts of tryptophan in meat and grains. That’s why it’s so important to produce your own, which is where B vitamins come in.

Illness Prevention

B vitamins promote sleep by preventing certain illnesses.

You can experience certain anemia if you don’t get enough B12, which causes symptoms like weakness, depression, fever, diarrhea, weight loss, and jaundice. These symptoms can reduce your quality of sleep.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is linked to a lack of vitamin B12 through anemia. People with RLS experience pain in the legs, cramps, tingling, aching, and itching.

More broadly, B vitamins may assist with:

  • Reducing the risk of strokes
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Reducing the likelihood of dementia
  • Heart disease reduction

Feeling Better

Because B vitamins are linked to serotonin production, they can prevent mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Serotonin regulates mood, rewarding you for doing things that benefit the body, and that’s why exercise gives us a buzz.

It’s also why we feel good when we eat fatty or sugary foods. During human evolution, it was difficult to find foods that gave us enough fat or sugar, so our bodies encouraged us to eat as much as we could. The more serotonin our body produces, the happier we feel.

Vitamins for insomnia and anxiety can assist your body by creating natural serotonin.

Identifying Vitamin B Deficiency

A B vitamin deficiency isn’t always easy to identify because there are many different B vitamins, and a deficiency in one may have different symptoms to a deficiency in another.

Let’s look at the different symptoms of vitamin B deficiency.

  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency: This can cause anemia, confusion, fatigue, weakness, and depression.
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency: This can cause anemia, confusion, depression, nausea, and rashes.
  • Vitamin B1 and B2 deficiency: This is unlikely, but a deficiency can cause confusion.
  • Vitamin B3 deficiency: This can cause digestive issues, nausea, and abdominal cramps.
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) deficiency: This can cause anemia and diarrhea.

A vitamin B deficiency is difficult to identify because the symptoms are more generic than health conditions.

B Vitamins Through Diet

Here are some sources of each B vitamin:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Eggs, peas, whole grains, fresh fruit, fortified cereal, and liver.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Milk, eggs, rice, and fortified cereal.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Milk, eggs, meat, fish, and wheat flour.
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): Eggs, chicken, beef, potatoes, oatmeal, broccoli, and whole grains.
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Milk, eggs, pork, chicken, fish, peanuts, and potatoes.
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin): This is produced naturally in your body. You only need small amounts, and the amount you produce is enough.
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic acid): Broccoli, liver, spinach, asparagus, peas, and fortified cereals.
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): Meat and fish, milk, cheese, eggs, and fortified cereals.

You need a varied diet to get enough of each B vitamin.

Drink milk and eat eggs because these two foods contain most of the B vitamins on their own. To get the entire vitamin B complex, eat a mixture of meat, vegetables, fortified cereals, and milk.

B Vitamin Supplements

Supplements often provide 100% of your RDA (recommended daily allowance) on their own.

You can choose a multivitamin that contains B vitamins or a specific B vitamin supplement. Multivitamins are a good choice, although they’re not intended to replace a varied diet.

Getting B vitamins through diet can be difficult, which is where supplements come in. It’s especially tricky for vegans and vegetarians since the examples we’ve explored are almost all animal sources.

Vitamin B12 is produced almost exclusively by bacteria inside the digestive system, and it’s only found in plants in small quantities. However, other B vitamins can be found in animal and plant sources.

To ensure that you get enough of each B vitamin, supplementation is recommended.

vitamin b complex sleep aid

How To Tell if Vitamins is Causing a Lack of Sleep

Various things can be done to ensure that B vitamins enhance your sleep rather than interfere with it. These will enable you to figure out whether it’s B vitamins or other factors that cause sleeplessness.

Go through this process to see if you sleep better at night:

  • Start taking your B vitamins earlier in the day, rather than later at night.
  • Cut down on your vitamin B intake. For example, only take half a tablet at a time.
  • Stop taking B vitamins for a brief period. Take note of how well you sleep over the course of a week, perhaps in a sleep diary. Identify any improvements, i.e., longer or more restful sleep.
  • Cut out other supplements to see if it was something other than your B vitamin complex tablet. Multivitamins can cause restless sleep, not just B vitamins.

While your body needs B vitamins, it needs to be the right quantity at the right time.

Vitamin B Guidelines

Follow these guidelines to ensure B complex helps you sleep rather than keeping you awake.

Take The Recommended Dosage

It’s hard to overdose on vitamins, but there are side effects from having too many. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is set for a reason.

According to Consumer Lab, too much B complex in your diet can cause liver toxicity, nerve damage, skin lesions, kidney damage, and rosacea.

Avoid Taking B Vitamin Supplements in The Evening

Caffeine can help you through the day, but drinking coffee in the evening keeps you awake at night. Adopt the same attitude if you start taking vitamin B complex supplements in the early morning.

Pair Vitamins with Food

Some vitamins—vitamins A, D, E, and K—are fat-soluble; vitamins B and C are water-soluble. This means that certain vitamins dissolve when exposed to fat, and others dissolve in water.

You need your vitamins to dissolve in the digestive system because this helps your body absorb them. Make sure that you take B vitamins with water, or preferably with food that contains plenty of water.

Supplements Interfering with Medications

Vitamin B12 interacts with certain antibiotics and anti-seizure medications. Tell your doctor if you plan to take any supplements so that they can advise you accordingly.