Taking Vitamins at Night: 5 Things You Should Know

05/11/2021 | 13 min. read

Healthy Directions Staff Editor

Healthy Directions Staff Editor

With plenty of vitamins and supplements commercially available these days, finding the vitamin you are looking for has never been easier. That said, not all vitamins, and not even all multivitamins, are the same nor should they be taken at the same time.

While some vitamins are best taken in the morning, others can be taken at night with little risk of a negative impact on your sleep. There are, however, some vitamins and supplements that you may want to avoid when bedtime comes around so that you do not lose out on any of that much needed sleep.

Certain vitamins, like those believed to aid in supporting your energy levels, may actually interfere with your sleep if you take them too close to bedtime, and on the other hand, some vitamins can help promote a deeper, more restful sleep.

So, before you take your multivitamin before bed, there are a few things you should know so that you can get the most out of your vitamins… and your sleep.

1. Some Vitamins May Actually Help You Sleep Better

Believe it or not, some vitamins may actually help promote a deep and restful night of sleep, and taking these vitamins closer to nighttime may help you reap the benefits.

The following vitamins may help you sleep better:

  • Vitamin D: The National Center for Biotechnology Information found that having a vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk of developing a sleeping disorder, so making sure to get your vitamin D in each day may help ensure that you are getting the sleep you deserve.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E may help prevent memory impairment caused by sleep deprivation. Vitamin E may also help normalize your hippocampus antioxidant mechanisms if you are experiencing sleep deprivation.
  • Calcium & Magnesium: Both calcium and magnesium may help you when it comes to muscle contraction and relaxation, and this is one of the main reasons why these two minerals are often recommended as a pair for use at nighttime. Having either a calcium or magnesium deficiency may be linked to sleep disturbances throughout the night, and calcium works with one of your sleep hormones, tryptophan, to help produce melatonin, which works to induce sleep.
  • L-Theanine: L-Theanine is one of many amino acids, and it can be found in tea leaves and some types of mushrooms. L-Theanine works to help boost GABA, dopamine, and serotonin in your brain, and these chemicals work together to help regulate your sleep. L-Theanine also works to lower the levels of certain chemicals that have a stimulant effect, which may make it easier for you to fall asleep.
  • Iron: Low levels of iron in your body can lead to fatigue and sleep disturbances, and may also be a risk factor for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) which is associated with sleeplessness and insomnia. Low iron may also contribute to anxiety. Thus, keeping your iron levels in check may help ensure that your sleep does not get interfered with in some way.
  • Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces on its own, and it works to help make you feel tired. If you are having a particularly hard time sleeping, melatonin supplements may help reset your circadian rhythm which then makes it easier to fall asleep.

When it comes to these vitamins, taking vitamins at night may be beneficial.

2. Fat Soluble Vitamins and Water Soluble Vitamins Should Be Taken At Different Times

There are two main categories of vitamins: fat soluble vitamins and water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are those that are soluble in fats, which means they are best taken with some source of dietary fat.

On the other hand, water soluble vitamins are soluble in water and do not need to be taken with any specific type of food. In fact, water soluble vitamins are generally best if taken on an empty stomach.

Fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K, and they enter your bloodstream to carry out their function when you take them with a source of fat. Foods containing saturated fats, or oils, are great choices when it comes to taking your fat soluble vitamins with food. You should not take fat soluble vitamins on an empty stomach, as this can lessen their effectiveness.

Examples of water soluble vitamins include vitamin C, B vitamins, and folic acid.

Because they are water soluble, it is best to take them on an empty stomach, like first thing in the morning at least 30 minutes before your first meal. Alternatively, you can also take them two hours after a meal.

With these vitamins, the excess will be eliminated from your system through your urine.

3. Your B Complex Vitamins Might Be Keeping You Awake

The 8 B vitamins work to help enzymes in your body fulfill their important roles, such as releasing the energy you get from carbohydrates and fat, or breaking down amino acids in your body and transporting oxygen and nutrients that contain energy.

The 8 B vitamins includes the following:

  • B1: Thiamin
  • B2: Riboflavin
  • B3: Niacin
  • B5: Pantothenic Acid
  • B6: Pyridoxine
  • B7: Biotin
  • B9: Folic Acid/Folate
  • B12: Cobalamin

So, how do B vitamins factor into your sleep? B vitamins are water soluble and are best taken on an empty stomach, which means you may not want to be taking them at the end of your day of eating anyway.

Taking your B vitamins in the morning on an empty stomach before your first meal will not only allow them to be better absorbed into your bloodstream, it may also give you a little bit of an energy boost to start off your day.

4. Multivitamins May Contain Unexpected Ingredients

While multivitamins can be a great way to get your fill of all of the essential nutrients without having to take each one separately, some multivitamins may come with ingredients that you were not expecting, and these extra ingredients could actually end up keeping you awake at night.

That said, not all multivitamins contain extra ingredients like caffeine. Just make sure to always check the ingredient list on your multivitamin.

Consult your doctor before you start taking a multivitamin in the first place.

5. You Should Consult Your Doctor For Proper Guidance

Even though taking vitamins can seem like a safe enough practice, misusing vitamins can have some unpleasant side effects.

While any excess of water soluble vitamins will be flushed out of your body through your urine, it is very possible to end up ingesting too much of a fat soluble vitamin and experiencing toxicity.

Because of this, you should always consult your doctor before you start taking a new vitamin, especially if it is a fat soluble vitamin.

Knowing how to use your vitamins properly is an important part of ensuring that you are getting the benefits you expect, so whenever anything is unclear or you have questions, you should talk to your doctor to get the answers you need.

Even more, if you are interested in starting to take a multivitamin, your doctor may be able to steer you in the direction of a few product recommendations, and can help you find products safe for nighttime use if this is your preference.

Alternatively, your doctor can also warn you of any potential risks associated with certain products so that you are amply prepared for any side effects or other issues.

The Bottom Line

Vitamins and supplements can be a great way to make sure your nutritional needs are taken care of, especially if you have dietary restrictions or otherwise have nutritional gaps in your diet.

The B vitamins, for example, are known for their ability to help promote and regulate better energy levels, meaning they have the potential to give you an unwanted surge of energy before bedtime.

On the other hand, some vitamins may be helpful to take at night and may help promote deeper sleep. Calcium and magnesium are two examples of supplements that may help you get to sleep more easily.

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Healthy Directions Staff Editor