Mental health researchers Dr. Bonnie Kaplan and Dr. Julia Rucklidge highlighted in their most recent Mad in America article a recent study linking nutrition with sleep and mental health.
The study — performed at the University of Canterbury — followed 14 adults suffering from sleep problems to see what effect a broad spectrum formula of vitamins and minerals would have on their sleep. The researchers randomized participants into three groups: the first group started intervention a week later, the second 2 weeks later, and the third 3 weeks later.
During an 8-week period, each group received the micronutrient formula and monitored their sleep patterns. Unsurprisingly, the results were encouraging:
Treatment completers reported that their insomnia improved substantially, and in addition, their mood, anxiety and stress ratings dropped as well. The change was determined to be both reliable (that is it was not due to measurement error) and significant (with very large effect sizes).
But why do micronutrients seem to be the solution to mental health and sleep?
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the body to create neurotransmitters, which manage our mental health and sleep cycles. And given that poor mental health can affect our sleep patterns, which, in turn, can reciprocally affect our mental health, getting the proper nutrition becomes all the more vital.