The Surprising Way Vitamin C Supplements May Affect Your Sleep

Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble nutrient. This makes it easy for the vitamin to travel to the body's tissues (via The Nutrition Source). It also plays a crucial role in several biochemical, physiological, and cellular processes in the body.

Upon studying vitamin C's therapeutic properties, researchers have concluded that it is a powerful antioxidant capable of neutralizing free radicals, treating infections, and healing wounds by producing collagen. Moreover, vitamin C benefits the immune system by protecting the body from all sorts of diseases, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) explained. According to MSD, "When vitamin C is deficient, formation of intercellular cement substances in connective tissues, bones, and dentin is defective, resulting in weakened capillaries with subsequent hemorrhage and defects in bone and related structures."

The NIH recommends eating citrus fruits like oranges, strawberries, and grapefruit as well as vegetables such as broccoli, potatoes, and tomatoes in order to provide the body with an adequate amount of vitamin C. While it's easy to get the required amount of vitamin C if you eat vitamin C-rich foods, some people opt for supplements. Whichever method you choose, you might be surprised at the way vitamin C impacts your sleep.

If you don't get enough vitamin C, you'll miss out on some good sleep

Sleep is an essential part of a person's recovery process and improves the quality of physical activities and aids in muscular growth and tissue repair, a study in Sleep Medicine showed. Furthermore, sleep serves as an antioxidant for the brain by removing the free radicals that accumulate when we are up and active, a Medical Hypotheses study demonstrated.

However, without an adequate amount of vitamin C, your sleep could falter. One study revealed that vitamin C is responsible for inducing restorative sleep, or deep sleep characterized by rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Findings from one 2020 study indicate that lack of vitamin C in the system can lead to non-restorative sleep, leaving you feeling less refreshed when you wake up. The effect of vitamin C on patients who have terminal cancer has also been studied. According to clinical research, high doses of vitamin C can improve the sleep patterns of cancer patients, a study in the Journal of Korean Medical Science revealed.

Here's how vitamin C may affect your sleep duration

According to National Sleep Foundation, healthy adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night; sleeping for fewer hours is likely insufficient. Want to sleep for a longer amount of time? Consider boosting your vitamin C intake.

A 2013 study in the journal Appetite revealed that individuals with a lower intake of vitamin C and other nutrients reported sleeping for only five to six hours nightly. Another study showed similar results, suggesting that shortened sleep durations could be associated with lower vitamin C levels and other "key nutrients."

While vitamin C could play a role in helping you get better sleep, there are of course other factors that come into play, like your stress and comfort levels as well as your environment. You can rest assured, though, knowing it has plenty of benefits outside of sleep, too. Hmm, it sounds like a good time to go grab an orange, doesn't it?