Not Sleeping Well? Check Your Vitamin C levels!

Lauren Lehmkuhl
Not Sleeping Well? Check Your Vitamin C levels!

Haven’t been sleeping well lately? Have you thought about  your vitamin C levels recently?

While we don't often think about vitamin C being related to our sleep, turns out that this could be one culprit of your precious Zzz’s being lost at night. 

Let’s take a look at how Vitamin C could be affecting your sleep.

Research shows that your vitamin C levels are associated with sleep duration and quality. 

People who don’t regularly consume enough vitamin C may have trouble falling and staying asleep during the night. They may also experience more disturbances in their sleep, causing them to feel less restored in the morning. 

Scientists speculate that increasing vitamin C may help increase sleep duration, reduce chances of waking, provide relief for movement disorders like restless leg syndrome, and alleviate the effects of sleep apnea. 

These are some pretty profound benefits for those struggling with restorative sleep!

While scientists are still learning about this correlation, here are a few mechanisms behind how vitamin C may improve sleep:

Vitamin C Reduces Cortisol Levels

One way that vitamin C may contribute to sleep is through its effect on cortisol levels, our stress hormone. 

Having adequate vitamin C helps with healthy cortisol management and can help keep it from getting chronically elevated.

Since stress can be a contributing factor to poor sleep, anything that helps reduce stress can have great benefits! 

Think: less stress = better sleep! 

It Reduces Oxidative Stress 

Vitamin C’s role as an antioxidant may be a cause of its sleep promoting effects. If you want to read up on this more, check out the article here.

Antioxidants are compounds that reduce oxidative stress in the body and have been linked to improving sleep quality. 

Many things in our everyday life can cause oxidative stress; a poor diet, intense exercise, or exposure to toxicants, and it’s important that we keep our antioxidant intake high.  

By reducing oxidative stress in the body, vitamin C may help promote better sleep quality! 

It Promotes a Healthy Immune System 

In a roundabout way, Vitamin C also plays a big role in a healthy immune system. It has the ability to reduce the chance of cold-induced restless nights. 

How often is a headache, sinus congestion, or cough a hindrance to your sleep at night?

It Boosts Iron Absorption

Did you know vitamin C boosts iron absorption in your body? 

In fact, one cause of iron deficiency is a lack of vitamin C in the diet. 

Iron deficiencies are associated with poor sleep and disorders like restless leg syndrome. Keeping adequate vitamin C levels is important for reducing chances of low iron levels; and disturbed sleep that follows it. Do you find this interesting? You can read more on Vitamin C associated with disrupted sleep.

How can I increase my Vitamin C levels?

The great thing about vitamin C is that it’s one of the easiest vitamins to increase through diet!  

Let’s take a look at some of the foods highest in vitamin C to get your levels up. 

Citrus Fruits

It’s likely that you’ve heard of citrus fruits and vitamin C going hand in hand. There’s a good reason for that! 

Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, are chock full of vitamin C. 

Did you know that you can get 70% of your daily requirement for vitamin C from a single orange?

Keeping oranges on hand for snacking or alongside any meal can make it easy to improve your vitamin C levels in just one sitting!

Although you most likely aren’t pulling out a lemon to snack on the same way as an orange, a delicious way to boost your vitamin C intake is by squeezing lemon in your water each day!

An unrelated benefit of lemon water is its alkalizing effect which helps keep your urinary pH on your Vessel wellness tests in balance! 

Or, make a batch of delicious lemonade to sip on throughout the day (aim to keep the sugar content low or use alternative sweeteners like monk fruit extract or stevia to keep the drink healthier).

Berries, Melons, and More!

Citrus fruits shouldn’t get all the praise for raising your vitamin C levels.

Did you know that it only takes about 1 cup of fresh strawberries to get your daily needs?

Top your yogurt, oatmeal, or toast with this delicious vitamin C-packed berry! 

Try adding in kiwi to your daily regime! Kiwi's are actually packed with more vitamin C per serving than oranges are! Or, opt for some delicious papaya, guava, or cantaloupe!

All fruits have some amount of vitamin C in them, so if there’s one you don’t like, choose another. 

The great part is that it doesn’t necessarily take more than the recommended daily servings of fruits each day (2+) to get your vitamin C levels to the right place!

Vitamin C-rich fruits can be enjoyed in so many different ways; smoothies, juices, topped on oatmeal and yogurt, on toast, paired with cheese or nut butter, or simply on their own! 

Colorful Vegetables

It shouldn’t be a surprise that fruits alone don’t take the cake on vitamin C, vegetables are equally as important! 

Not only a great afternoon snack paired with some hummus; bell peppers are one of the richest sources of vitamin C! 

They even contain more vitamin C than oranges do, with 1 cup being more than sufficient for your daily needs. 

Red ones are normally the sweetest and the ones with the most vitamin C. 

*Hint* - the richer the color of a fruit or vegetable are, the higher in nutrients and antioxidants they usually are! 

That’s why nutritionists everywhere are encouraging you to “eat the rainbow”!

An exception to this (less colorful fruits and vegetables are still often packed with nutrients too!) is white potato, which can cover most of your daily vitamin C needs in one cup!

Other great colorful vegetables to add to your next salad, sandwich, or afternoon snack include tomatoes, red cabbage, squash, and golden beets. 

Dark leafy Greens and Cruciferous Vegetables

What list does kale not make it on when it comes to health? 

Kale is a leafy green that’s rich in vitamin C, but make sure that you consume it raw to gain the most vitamin C that you can from it. 

That’s because temperature and heat can destroy some of the vitamin C content present in vegetables, so try eating it fresh as a kale salad instead!

If you do prefer kale or other leafy greens when they’re cooked, try steaming them as this cooking method appears to retain the most vitamin C content. 

Broccoli, brussel sprouts, and mustard greens are all other rich sources of vitamin C that can help boost your vitamin C levels! 

At the end of the day, we don’t often think of our breakfast, lunch, or dinner having an impact on our sleep quality - but they definitely do. 

Of course there are many other factors that play more prominent roles in our sleep. If you feel like you’ve been doing everything right and are still struggling to find restoration at night...it’s worth taking a look at your Vessel vitamin C results.

There are so many foods that you can use to increase your vitamin C levels, and most of them have other vitamins and minerals that will benefit your sleep as well. 

Not sure if your vitamin C levels are where you want them to be? Use Vessel to get your test cards and personalized recommendations to begin improving your vitamin C levels!

And remember, you can always chat with your nutrition coach for recommendations on adding vitamin C into your diet!