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Does B12 Help You Sleep?

does b12 help you sleep

Does B12 help you sleep?

After battling with a severe illness where sleep became rare rather than something I could easily do before, I now know my answer.

What B12 does is cause the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone, which helps to reset our circadian clock (sleep-wake cycle). B12 provokes the pineal gland into releasing melatonin faster than it usually would. Not only that, but it also causes the melatonin to decrease as you start to wake in the morning. Thus putting our sleep-wake cycle into motion.

It has been noted that the levels of B12 decrease every year with age or illness.

As a person who is doing maintenance chemotherapy – sleep issues are something I deal with all the time. Throw into that lack of focus, forgetfulness as well as difficulty retaining new information.

Illness sure does build up anxiety before bedtime, especially when going over my day to look for the positives.

Initially, when I started to forget little things, I was petrified as it was something that was new to me.

This was my first time dealing with cancer. It was a time of turmoil as I was/am a parent of 4 kids. Being forgetful was not precisely a life I pictured in my late 30s.

Heck, before starting chemo, I could fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. But now I was lying awake for hours wondering what was going to happen to my kids if something happened to me.

I prided myself on how good my memory was. But when chemotherapy came along, it just threw me for a loop.

With a nervous feeling, I approached my Doctor to see what I could do about this getting some good sleep to improve the other parts of my life.  She suggested taking B12 to clear the constant brain fog.

I started my research, the more I learned, the happier I became. 

Overcoming cognitive and mental function was imperative to me to get the sleep I deserved to heal from what chemo was doing to my body

That’s exactly what B12 helps with!

What got my attention about vitamin B12 was its relation to deficiency and dementia as well as psychiatric disorders. Since chemotherapy made my immune system nonexistent, I learned to make a good recovery was to take B12.

I started taking the supplement Jarrow’s Methyl B12. It takes at B12 at least 2 to 4 weeks to get into the system to start working, but this chewable tablet was noticeable within three days. I was amazed at how my thinking got sharper; attention was more focused. I noticed my mood was more balanced as well sleep wasn’t skipping over me anymore.

It’s pretty amazing to know that vitamin B12 deficiency can have fairly serious consequences, yet up to 40% of American adults are believed to have below-normal levels of vitamin B12.

Sleep isn’t only benefited from taking B12, you can also benefit in other areas of your life as well.

Weakness

Weakness occurs because our body doesn’t have enough vitamin B12 to make red blood cells. With the lack of red blood cells transporting oxygen becomes much harder to do.

And when transport takes place in our body, it requires energy. For energy, our heart has to work harder. This is where the weakness comes from.

I noticed with myself even though I was sleeping so much, yet I was still waking up tired. But now that I’ve started B12, my life has changed so much. I get up full of energy, ready to start my day.

Not only do I focus on working on my blog posts, but I also make time to go to the gym for at least 45 minutes a day. As I’ve learned, exercise helps to make chemotherapy work better.

Our red blood cells are specially stated to carry oxygen to our organs throughout our bodies. Without vitamin B12, they don’t form properly making their job that much more difficult.

Anemia

Anemia runs in my family from my dad’s side. So getting cancer on top of being anemic was like getting hit with a double whammy.

Tell you the truth before getting cancer I was a very unconvinced person of taking supplements of any kind. I didn’t believe in all the mumbo-jumbo of taking this vitamin and that vitamin.

But after my diagnosis, I started wanting to be as healthy as possible to live as long as possible. I knew anemia was something I was going to have to deal with.

As I was researching vitamin B12, I was learning more and more positive things about it. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it could also help my anemic body.

Who is at risk for B12 deficiency anemia?

  • Those who come from a family with a history of the disease
  • Having a part or all of your stomach or intestine nine removed
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • HIV
  • Some medicines will lower your B12
  • Strict vegetarian diets
  • Being an older adult
  • Being on chemotherapy

Symptoms of anemia are:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Paler yellow skin
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Weight loss
  • Numbness certainly in your hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Personality changes
  • Unsteady movements

Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is diagnosed through a routine blood test. Obviously, my blood test showed I was low in red blood cells.

With having this condition, your body will not make enough healthy red blood cells. The red blood cells are very vital to us living a good long healthy life. As stated above the red blood cells are what carry oxygen to every tissue as well as organs in our body.

Without oxygen, our body can’t work as well as it should. This then leads to a low quality of life where we can find ourselves sinking into depression, which is actually what I’m going to talk about next.

 Depression

Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in producing brain chemicals that affect the mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B12 are linked to depression.

What vitamin B12 does for our body is pretty amazing when it comes to linking to our chemical, hormonal imbalance.

Vitamin B12 assists in healthy nerve growth and development. Without healthy nerve growth and development, our nerves start sending out messages which can create for some confusion in our mind plus leading to a spiral downward.

It helps to improve the communication between nerve cells, which leads to better overall thinking as well as enhancing communication throughout our body. This causes our body to work as one rather than as individual parts.

As you know, adrenaline is vital to our well being. It is a hormone that is released when we are in a situation where a decision has to be made one way or another. Our heightened aware sense goes up, which helps to make a proper decision.

But without vitamin B12, this hormone isn’t released as efficiently as it should. This could lead us to a place of not having proper awareness to make the right decision.

Especially when depression clouds our judgment is when our inner critic comes out to play hard and heavy especially at bedtime.

By providing us with this emotional/mental energy, we are lifted out of depression very quickly. This happens because the adrenaline forces us to make a decision based on our raised awareness.

Lack of awareness/concentration is a precursor to depression. Once our mental focus becomes corrupted with incohesive thoughts, depression is not far behind. Vitamin B12 bolsters memory functions which help with concentration as well as a calming effect to balance our moods.

Now that we’ve learned the benefits of vitamin B12 let me explain how this nutrient works within our system.

Covering of Nerve Cells

This nutrient helps to build myelin sheaths. This is a process called myelination. Every cell in our nervous system is wrapped in an insulating coating called myelin sheath. This is a protective layer that is made up of protein and fat a substrate. This protective layer helps electric signals to transmit quickly as well efficiently between nerve cells.

Vitamin B12 works by producing the myelin sheath, which goes into shielding our nerve cells from becoming slow or sporadic. When the shielding is low on our nerve cells, it can lead to a host of neurological symptoms from trouble walking to changes in cognitive function mood.

Without the myelin sheath, our neurotransmitters get all messed. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are responsible for signal transmission as well as cell communication in our brain. Serotonin, a crucial mood-regulating neurotransmitter, plays a very vital role in our mental health.

There are specific nutritional factors that can impact our brain’s production of serotonin; one of those is a lack of vitamin B12.

An imbalance of serotonin levels contributes to the formation of mental health illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorders.

By taking vitamin B12, you will not only balance your serotonin levels, but you will also reduce anxiety as well as elevate your mood.

This nutrient can be found in food as well as supplements. I find personally for myself getting food to meet an adequate amount of B12 is just too much work for me. On top of maintaining chemotherapy as well as keeping up energy, getting the proper food to get an adequate amount of vitamin B12 is not a viable option for me at this time.

Below you will find a list of the most common foods that you can get vitamin B12 from:

  • Animal liver and kidneys (3 to 5 ounces)
  • Clams (20 small clams)
  • Sardines (1 cup)
  • Beef (one grilled flat iron steak)
  • Fortified cereal (three-quarter cup)
  • Tuna (3 to 5 ounces)
  • Fortified nutritional yeast (2 tablespoons)
  • Trout (3.5 ounces)
  • Salmon (178 grams)

Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria or in the bodies of individual animals. There are very few if any plant-derived foods that contain a sustainable amount of B12. Most vegetarians and vegans have to seek out different sources of B12.

Below is a list of where vegetarians/vegans find a source of B12:

  • dairy products
  • shiitake mushroom
  • eggs
  • nori

The micrograms of B12 in vegetarian food is very low. So you would be required to eat more than usual to get the necessary amount of vitamin B12 MCG.

A typical dose of B12 is 1 to 25 MCG per day.

  • Young children 12 and under require 1.8 MCG
  • Older kids and adults need 2.4 MCG
  • Pregnant women need 2.8 MCG

For older adults, supplementation of 25-100 MCG per day has been used to maintain B12 levels. I’m not at the older level stage just yet, but due to my compromised immune system, I intake 25 MCG supplements per day.

As I stated before I have way too much on my plate to derive vitamin B12 from food, my go-to for this nutrient are supplements. The one I found which works best for me is Jarrow’s Methyl B12.

Why do I like this one the most:

  1. Promotes levels of restful sleep
  2. It melts in your mouth. No need to have a drink or juice handy
  3. Supports my brain cells
  4. Has over 2000 positive reviews
  5. Unlike swallowing with water this one works really fast, you’ll start noticing the difference within a couple of days
  6. Contains no wheat, gluten, soybeans, dairy, egg, fish/shellfish, or peanuts/tree nuts which means it is suitable for vegetarians/vegans
  7. Much easier for the body to absorb
  8. Great flavor
  9. So worth it in the long run

Hopefully, I’ve provided enough of an answer to how does b12 help you sleep.

Share below how you would deal with b12 deficiencies which affect sleep?

jagi

Reading is my favorite thing to do. But other than reading, I enjoy discovering new techniques on how to do something in simpler methods. My daughter likes to call me the Renaissance woman. So I do have to live up to the name. One of my main issues is sleeping, so I'm always searching for new ways to get a good night sleep, I'm more than happy to share them with you. My posts are either geared towards pain or self-help. Pain posts because I suffer from ongoing cancer pain. In the past 6 years of my fight with cancer, I have learned many ways to deal with pain, especially when going to bed. The self-help posts come from my work as a mental health counselor for over 15+ years. My background in counseling training is from UFV and RRU. I also have personal trainer certification from IFA, so I might throw in some exercise posts as well.

View all posts by jagi →

12 thoughts on “Does B12 Help You Sleep?

  1. Very informative article. I pray that all is well in regards to your cancer. I think we all know someone who has lost that battle. So difficult to decide what to do and chemo is such a horrid thing. B12, good nutrition, and fresh air and exercise can go a long way. I really didn’t realize all of the ailments that b12 could treat.

    1. I didn’t either until I was hit with an illness, but now it’s one of the first things I take in the morning. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Hello, Jagi and thanks for this valuable information.

    I can’t say that I suffer from serious sleep issues but every once in a while when I have to get up in the middle of the night, it takes a little longer for me to get back to sleep.  I have Tinnitus and I’m an older male (70) so they kind of work against me from time to time if you know what I mean.

    That said and after reading your article, I’m wondering if a B12 supplement might help me in this area.  I also feel tired in the morning and feel like I have a little brain fog at times, other symptoms that you mention.

    It probably wouldn’t hurt to give it a try and see what happens.  I’ll have to check my other supplements first to see if what I’m getting and if it’s enough.

    This old dog is still learning so thanks again,

    Wayne

    1. I always like learning new things, that is how our mind stays sharp. Thanks for the comment.

      1. Wayne Shufelt says:

        I also meant to ask you about when the best time would be to take a B12 supplement to help with sleep. Would you do that a couple of hours before bedtime or closer?

        1. I usually take my vitamins at around 11 am. It doesn’t really matter at what time you take them, just be consistent with your time.

  3. Wow, I had never thought of B12 as something that might assist with sleep. It seems that when I usually hear of B vitamins, it’s associated with adding energy, not calming a person before bedtime. There is definitely a long list of benefits provided by the vitamin, but even with a balanced healthy diet, a supplement is probably a good idea to make sure that the body is absorbing enough to be beneficial. 

    1. You are right about absorption by the body, but the only way it can happen is if a person is eating the right foods (mainly meat products), for vegetarians this may not be the answer. B12 in pill form makes it easier. 

  4. Henderson says:

    Wow, this is a really comprehensive and informative post. I think that alot of research sent into making this post. We were usually thought about b12 and other vitamins when we were young but I didn’t know it’s the perfect vitamin to help me with my sleep disorders. I like you, this disorders come from over thinking and work stress. It’s great to see that you can highlight all the good use of the vitamin b12. I think I’d try the Jarrow’s Methyl B12 since you recommend it. Thanks for sharing this knowledge

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, please let me know how it goes with the b12.

  5. Thanks for writing this up. In my opinion, too many people have a B12 deficiency. Years ago, I probably had one. I used to eat so bad, but then I made changes to my eating habits. Years has passed, and I feel a ton better. I believe that is in part to getting plenty of B12 in my diet. These days, I have no problems getting a good night’s rest, regardless of how busy I am or stress I may be. 

    That wasn’t the case when I ate bad! 

    1. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a cause of many issues, but sleep is one of the main ones. Without proper sleep, a person ends up developing other issues.

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