Which Supplements to Avoid Taking Before Bed
While some supplements are designed to work synergistically with sleep, others are designed to assimilate and work in the daytime. Even when it comes to vitamin and mineral supplements like B vitamins and magnesium, timing is a factor that affects a nutritional supplement's absorption and potential side effects.
To get the most out of your supplements without sacrificing sleep, it's worth pinpointing the best times in the day to take them. So, which supplements should you avoid taking before bed?
Could Your Supplements Be Keeping You Awake At Night?
Insomnia has numerous potential causes, but if you're taking supplements before bed and struggling to sleep, the nutrients you're absorbing may be the cause. Getting a full night's sleep each night is critical for achieving the fitness gains you want to see. Plus, you look and feel your best with a healthy sleep cycle. Certain nutrients in your supplement regimen can disrupt your sleep cycle when taken at the wrong time.
How Timing Affects Supplement Absorption
Do you take all your supplements in one go in the morning or at night without really thinking about the timing? The reason timing does matter is because supplements provide more results the better they absorb.
Whether a supplement is taken first thing on an empty stomach or later with a big meal can affect how well the nutrient actually absorbs. With a meal, supplements can typically combine with other nutrients and assimilate more optimally. If you wait too long in the day to take certain nutrients, however, there's a chance they could disrupt your sleeping.
Supplements to Take During Daytime and Avoid Before Bed
With some supplements, the timing makes all the difference. Here are the supplements that could affect your sleep patterns if taken before bed:
Some of the most common natural aphrodisiacs like maca root and ashwagandha should be taken earlier in the day and avoided at night. On the other hand, fenugreek and ginkgo biloba are better libido boosters if you prefer taking them at night because they don't stimulate your entire nervous system and pose a threat to your sleep.
The human body has evolved to absorb vitamin D from the sun. An effect of this, experts say, is that your body clock registers "daytime" when you take a vitamin D supplement. Since vitamin D is fat-soluble, it's best to take it with a full meal that incorporates healthy fats. Aim to take vitamin D with breakfast or lunch instead of with dinner to avoid disruptions in your sleep.
B vitamins are water-soluble, which means they can easily absorb into your bloodstream without having to be taken with a meal. A vitamin-B complex supplement can support higher energy levels, prolonged focus, and even a healthy appetite. To reap the full benefits of B vitamins, be sure to take them in the morning with a tall glass of water. B vitamins combine with water to break down, which can have almost a diuretic effect—another reason to avoid them before bed.
Because multivitamins contain the various B vitamins in their formulas, it's best to avoid multivitamins before bed, too. Moreover, many multivitamins are designed to help boosts energy levels and contain antioxidants and other energizing additions you can benefit from in the daytime.
The Best Supplements to Take Before Bedtime
Supplements better taken before bed include those that help for sleep and nutrients that absorb better during sleep. Here are the supplements to take before bed:
Iron and Vitamin C
If you take an iron supplement, you'll want to take it with your last meal before bed for optimal absorption. Try to incorporate vitamin C in your meal, or drink a glass of orange juice if you like. Vitamin C helps iron assimilate into the bloodstream in higher concentrations, making your supplements more effective.
Magnesium is best taken at night for its relaxation effects. Not only does magnesium help your muscles relax, but also it plays a role in the production of melatonin—known as the sleepiness hormone your body synthesizes at night.
Zinc has been linked to better sleep when taken before bed. It works by supporting the three NREM phases of sleep that occur before the fourth phase, known as REM sleep. NREM is when your muscles repair themselves, so by boosting efficiency during NREM sleep, zinc helps your muscles recover more in less time.
ZMA, which includes zinc, magnesium, aspartate, and vitamin B6, is a muscle recovery formula designed to be taken before bed. By working synergistically to assimilate in the body, ZMA gives your muscles the bio-available nutrients they need to recover from stress.
While many B vitamins promote higher energy levels, vitamin B6 (also called pyridoxine) doesn't disrupt sleep. In fact, research suggests vitamin B6 before bed can help you remember your dreams.
If you're still struggling with insomnia after adjusting the times you take your supplements, you might try melatonin for a good night's sleep. Often taken for jetlag during travel, melatonin can help you re-regulate your body clock when you take it about 30 minutes before bed.
Melatonin doses can range from one to 10 mg, with three milligrams being a good place for adults to start. If you feel more awake and well-rested in the day after taking melatonin before bed, it's a sign you're most likely shoring up a melatonin deficiency.
Supplement Timing Matters
Whenever you're taking dietary supplements, it's important to listen to your body and take note of the effects. While vitamins can be crucial for shoring up a deficiency, they can also cause side effects if taken later in the day or before bed. Some other supplements are best taken before bed for assimilation and better quality sleep. Knowing when your daily supplements should be taken, you can shift your routine to optimize their absorption and minimize any side effects.