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We're always looking for new ways to get better sleep — and we always call "The Sleep Doctor," Dr. Breus, for help. This time, he's sharing ways to help increase your vitamin D intake, which could influence your sleep quality and quantity — especially now, when you might be struggling with sleep even more during the dark days of winter and getting less vitamin D from the sun.
"Vitamin D is produced by the sun," Dr. Breus says. "Unfortunately, we need a lot more vitamin D when we're not outside a lot."
"Vitamin D may also be important for maintaining healthy sleep," the sleep doc says on his blog. He notes that research indicates that vitamin D may influence both sleep quality and sleep quantity.
Vitamin D + Covid: Is there a correlation?
"One of the things I talk about with people all the time is making sure that especially right now, during Covid, that you're really loading up on the vitamin D," the doc explains. "To be clear, that doesn't mean that if you have a vitamin D deficiency, you're going to die of Covid, but it was a correlation. So I've told all of my patients to increase the vitamin D, for sure."
How can I get more vitamin D?
"When we're looking for alternate sources of vitamin D," Dr. Breus says, "there's a whole host of them that we can be including in our diet almost daily."
1. Eat Salmon
"Fatty fishes that are loaded with omegas are super rich in vitamin D," Dr. Breus says. "This is one of my favorite ways to get vitamin D. I love salmon anyway; it's such an amazing fish. I love the wild-caught ones. Those are the best."
To get your salmon fill, try Rach's Salmon en Croute with Spinach Filling or Ryan Scott's Orange-Sesame Glazed Salmon.
2. Try Fish Oil Supplements
"For some people who may or may not be a big salmon or fish person, fish oil can be something that can be incredibly helpful in terms of generating vitamin D," "The Sleep Doctor" says. You don't just have to take it in liquid form. Believe it or not, you can actually get it in pill form."
Dr. Breus uses Nordic Naturals Omega-3.
3. Eat Egg Yolks
Rach jokes that her famous Carbonara could help with this! 😉
4. Drink Orange Juice
"Many of our orange juices are fortified now with vitamin D," Dr. Breus says.
5. Try Vitamin D Supplements
If none of these vitamin D-rich foods appeal to you, Dr. Breus says supplements might be for you.
"I personally take vitamin D every single morning," he explains. "I take 5,000 international units. It's really good for you. It's hard to have too much vitamin D. Of course, you want to talk with your doctor if you're going over 5,000 IUs, just to make sure your body is one that can absorb it and handle it."
Dr. Breus takes Nature's Bounty Vitamin D3.
6. Get Outside + Exercise
"I'm not saying you have to run a marathon, but go for a walk," Dr. Breus says. "Get in the sun. Every single morning, I take my [dog] Hugo out for a 20-minute walk. Getting that sunshine resets my circadian clock, which is very helpful for the winter blues and SAD."
Plus, we all need fresh air now more than ever since we're spending more time inside. "I'm telling people now to walk around the house and open up the windows and then walk around the house and close the windows just to get some [fresh air]," the doc says.