Researchers have found a finds a correlation between sleep disorders and a lack of essential vitamins and minerals


Many Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep, and many do not consume the recommended amounts of important vitamins and minerals.

A new study suggests the two factors may be connected.

The research is based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.

Compared with people who got more than seven hours of sleep per night–the amount the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for adults–scientists found that people who got fewer than seven hours of sleep per night on average consumed lower amounts of vitamins A, D, and B1, as well as magnesium, niacin, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.

The study also found a greater number of nutrients were associated with poor sleep in women than in men.

This number was reduced if women took dietary supplements, suggesting that supplements can help fill the gaps where a person’s diet is not providing the necessary nutrients.

“This work adds to the body of growing evidence associating specific nutrient intakes with sleep outcomes,” said lead study author Chioma Ikonte, director of nutrition science at Pharmavite, LLC.

“Our findings suggest that individuals with short sleep duration might benefit from improving their intake of these nutrients through diet and supplementation.”

Ikonte will present the research at Nutrition 2019, the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, held June 8-11, 2019 in Baltimore.

In addition to the findings on sleep duration, the research suggests nutrients may also play a role in sleep disorders, poor sleep quality and trouble falling a sleep.

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that our bodies require but do not produce. As a result, they must come from our diet.

Globally, billions of people suffer from at least one micronutrient deficiency.

Risultati immagini per sleep disorder

The study also found a greater number of nutrients were associated with poor sleep in women than in men. The image is in the public domain.

Previous studies have demonstrated important roles for micronutrients in growth and development, disease prevention and healing, and normal bodily functions, including sleep.

Magnesium, for example, helps the body produce melatonin and other compounds involved in sleep.

Some studies suggest zinc plays a role in sleep regulation.

However, the researchers cautioned that the study was a retrospective analysis, not a randomized controlled study, so cannot prove cause and effect.

“Whether chronic short sleep causes nutrient insufficiency or the nutrient insufficiency causes short sleep still needs to be determined,” said Ikonte.

“A clinical study that investigates [impacts of] supplementation with these nutrients on sleep outcomes is needed to demonstrate cause and effect.”

Forty million Americans are afflicted with chronic disorders of sleep and wakefulness, which interfere with work, driving, and social activities. Sleep disorders cause 38 000 cardiovascular deaths and cost over 16 billion annually.1 

Indirect costs of accidents, property destruction, litigation, hospitalization, and death add another 50 to $100 billion.1 The most common sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.13

Classification of sleep disorders

The International Classification of Sleep Disorders diagnostic and coding manual 2000 lists four major categories of sleep disorders: dyssomnias; parasomnias; sleep disorders associated with mental, neurologic, or other medical disorders; and proposed sleep disorders (Table I) 47

Table I

Classification of sleep disorders4. NOS, not otherwise specified; REM, rapid eye movement.

DyssomniasParasomniasSleep disorders associated with mental, neurological, or other medical disordersProposed sleep disorders
• Intrinsic sleep disorders• Arousal disorders• Associated with mental disorders– Short sleeper
– Psychophysiogical insomnia– Confusional arousals– Psychoses– Long sleeper
– Sleep state misperception– Sleepwalking– Mood disorders– Subwakefulness syndrome
– Idiopathic insomnia– Sleep terrors– Anxiety disorders– Fragmentary myoclonus
– Narcolepsy• Sleep-wake transition disorders– Panic disorders-Sleep hyperhidrosis
– Recurrent hyperomniaRhythmic startsAlcoholism– Menstrual-associated sleep disorder
– Idiopathic hypersomnia– Sleep starts• Associated with neurological disorder– Pregnancy-associated sleep disorder
– Posttraumatic hypersomnia– Sleep talking– Cerebral degenerative disorders– Terrifying hypnagogic hallucinations
– Central alveolar hypo-ventilation syndrome– Nocturnal leg cramps– Dementia– Sleep-related neurogenic tachypnea
– Periodic limb movement disorder• Parasomnias usually associated with REM sleep– Parkinsonism– Sleep-related laryngospasm
– Restless legs syndrome– Nightmares– Fatal familial insomnia– Sleep-choking syndrome
– Intrinsic sleep disorder NOS– Sleep paralysis– Sleep-related epilepsy
• Extrinsk sleep disorders– Impaired sleep-related penile erections– Electrical status epilepticus of sleep
– Inadequate sleep hygiene– REM sleep-related sinus arrest– Sleep-related headaches
– Environmental sleep disorder– REM sleep behavior disorder• Associated with other medical disorders
– Altitude insomnia• Other parasomnias– Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
– Adjustment sleep disorder– Sleep bruxism– Sleep-related asthma
– Insufficient sleep syndrome– Sleep enuresis– Sleep-related gastroesophageal reflux
– Limit-setting sleep disorder– Sleep-related abnormal swallowing syndrome– Peptic ulcer disease
– Sleep-onset association disorder– Noctural paroxysmal dystonia– Fibromyalgia
– Food allergy insomnia– Sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome
– Nocturnal eating (drinking) syndrome– Primary snoring
– Hypnotic-dependent sleep disorder– Infant sleep apnea
– Stimulant-dependent sleep disorder– Congenital central hypo-ventilation syndrome
– Toxin-induced sleep disorder– Sudden infant death syndrome
– Extrinsic sleep disorder NOS– Benign neonatal sleep myoclonyus
• Circadian rhythm sleep disorders– Other parasomnias NOS
– Jet lag syndrome
– Shift work sleep disorder
– Irregular sleep-wake pattern
– Delayed sleep-phase syndrome
– Advanced sleep-phase syndrome
– Non-24-h sleep-wake disorder
– Circadian rhythm sleep disorder NOS
– Circadian rhythm sleep disorder NOS

Dyssomnias are disorders characterized by either excessive sleepiness or difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep4.

On the basis of pathophysiological mechanisms, they can be subdivided into intrinsic, extrinsic, and circadian rhythm sleep disorders.49

Intrinsic sleep disorders are disorders that originate or develop within the body or that arise from causes within the body Common intrinsic sleep disorders include idiopathic and psychophysiological insomnia, narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), and restless legs syndrome (RLS)47.

Sleep disorders caused by external factors are termed extrinsic sleep disorders and include inadequate sleep hygiene, environmental sleep disorder, adjustment sleep disorder, insufficient sleep syndrome, limit-setting sleep disorder, sleep-onset association disorder, and hypnotic-, stimulant-, or alcohol-dependent sleep disorder:47 

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders share a common chronophysiological basis whereby there is a discordance between the patient’s sleep pattern and the desired or societal sleep norm.49 

Examples of circadian rhythm sleep disorders include shift work sleep disorder, delayed sleep phase syndrome, and advanced sleep phase syndrome.

Parasomnias are characterized by undesirable behavioral and physical phenomena that occur predominantly during sleep47.

They include disorders of arousal, partial arousal, and sleep-stage transition.

Sleep disorders can also be associated with mental disorders, such as psychoses, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and alcoholism.

Neurological conditions associated with sleep disorders include cerebral degenerative disorders, dementia, parkinsonism, fatal familial insomnia, sleep-related epilepsy, electrical status cpilepticus of sleep, and sleep-related headaches.410

 Sleep disorders can occur with medical disorders, such as sleeping sickness, nocturnal cardiac ischemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep-related asthma, sleeprelated gastroesophageal reflux, peptic ulcer disease, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia.-4,1114

Proposed sleep disorders include short sleeper, long sleeper, subwakefulness syndrome, fragmentary myoclonus, sleep hyperhidrosis, menstrual-associated sleep disorder, pregnancy-associated sleep disorder, terrifying hypnagogic hallucinations, sleep-related neurogenic tachypnea, sleep-related laryngospasm, and sleep choking syndrome.4

Note: Pharmavite, LLC is a company that sells dietary supplements.

American Society for Nutrition
Media Contacts: 
Anne Frances Johnson – American Society for Nutrition
Image Source:
The image is in the public domain.

Original Research: The study will be presented at Nutrition 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland.


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