Can Vitamin C Cause Insomnia?

can vitamin C cause insomnia

TL;DR SUMMARY: There is no concrete evidence showing vitamin C causes insomnia. If anything, vitamin C helps fight insomnia thanks to its stress-reducing effects. Your adrenal glands need vitamin C to produce various hormones. A deficiency in this essential nutrient can impair the production of your hormones, including serotonin which is involved in the sleep cycle. While vitamin C by itself is no magic nutrient for sleep, getting sufficient amounts can actually help you sleep better.

Overview of insomnia and its impact on sleep quality

Insomnia, the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, is a common sleep disorder that can significantly impact our overall well-being. We’ve all experienced the frustration of lying awake at night, unable to drift off into dreamland. Whether it’s caused by stress, anxiety, or other factors, insomnia can leave us feeling exhausted and drained the next day. [1]

Introduction to vitamin C and its role in the body

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid in the world of supplements, is a vital nutrient that plays numerous roles in our bodies. It is well-known for its immune-boosting properties, helping us fight off colds and infections. Additionally, vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it protects our cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals. It is involved in collagen production, wound healing, iron absorption, and the proper functioning of our nervous system. [2] While we often associate vitamin C with oranges and citrus fruits, it can be found in various fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, kiwis, bell peppers, and broccoli.

The Effects of Vitamin C

The role of vitamin C in supporting immune function and overall health

Vitamin C is a key player in bolstering our immune system [2]. It helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, crucial for fighting off infections and viruses. By strengthening our immune function, vitamin C can reduce the duration and severity of illnesses. Moreover, this essential nutrient acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing harmful free radicals and protecting our cells from damage.

Recommended daily intake of vitamin C

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C varies depending on factors such as age, sex, and life stage. For most adults, the recommended daily allowance is around 75-90 milligrams. [3] However, certain situations, such as pregnancy or illness, may require higher doses. The safe daily upper limit is shown to be around 2,000mg. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine your specific vitamin C needs.

Benefits of consuming adequate amounts of vitamin C

Consuming adequate amounts of vitamin C brings about a range of health benefits. Besides supporting our immune system, vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen synthesis, a protein essential for healthy skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. It also aids in the absorption of iron from plant-based sources, promotes brain health, and acts as an antioxidant, protecting against chronic diseases like heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Insomnia: Causes and Symptoms

Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing poor sleep quality. It can be classified as acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Acute insomnia is often triggered by specific events, such as stress, jet lag, or an illness. Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, typically lasts for at least three nights a week and persists for a month or longer.

Common causes of insomnia, including lifestyle factors and medical conditions

Insomnia can have various causes, ranging from lifestyle factors to underlying medical conditions. Stress, anxiety, and depression are common culprits, as they can disrupt our sleep patterns. Certain medications, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can also interfere with our ability to fall asleep. Medical conditions such as sleep apnea, chronic pain, or hormonal imbalances may contribute to chronic insomnia.

Symptoms and effects of insomnia on physical and mental health

Insomnia can manifest through a range of symptoms, including difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, waking up too early in the morning, and experiencing non-restorative sleep. These disruptions can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and impaired performance at work or school. Prolonged insomnia can take a toll on both our physical and mental well-being, increasing the risk of conditions like obesity, diabetes, anxiety, and depression. [4]

The Connection Between Vitamin C and Insomnia

Research investigating the potential link between vitamin C and insomnia is limited, and the findings are not yet conclusive. However, the current evidence doesn’t show it interferes with sleep.

Possible mechanisms through which vitamin C may affect sleep

The mechanisms by which vitamin C may impact sleep are still not fully understood. However, it is believed that vitamin C’s antioxidant properties and its role in neurotransmitter synthesis, such as serotonin, may influence sleep regulation. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in sleep-wake cycles and mood regulation. Vitamin C’s involvement in serotonin synthesis suggests a potential link between vitamin C levels and sleep quality.

Role of vitamin C in reducing stress and anxiety, potential contributors to insomnia

Stress and anxiety are known contributors to insomnia, and vitamin C may play a role in mitigating their effects. Vitamin C helps reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, promoting a calmer state of mind. [5] By acting as an antioxidant, vitamin C also protects against oxidative stress, which can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. While more research is needed, these stress-reducing properties of vitamin C suggest a potential benefit for sleep quality.

Factors that may contribute to the variability in research outcomes

Several factors can contribute to the variability in research outcomes. Individual variations in vitamin C metabolism, genetic factors, and the presence of other underlying health conditions may influence the potential effects of vitamin C on sleep. Additionally, variations in study methodologies, such as differences in participant demographics, measurement of sleep parameters, and vitamin C assessment methods, can contribute to the conflicting findings observed in research studies.

Expert Opinions and Recommendations

While further research is needed to establish a definitive link between vitamin C and insomnia, experts offer valuable insights. Sleep specialists and nutritionists emphasize the importance of a well-balanced diet that includes adequate vitamin C-rich foods. They recommend focusing on overall healthy sleep habits, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and managing stress levels, as these factors play significant roles in sleep quality.

Dietary recommendations for optimizing sleep quality

In addition to considering vitamin C, a well-rounded diet that includes other essential nutrients like magnesium, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to better sleep quality. Incorporating foods such as leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish can provide a range of nutrients beneficial for sleep. It’s important to prioritize a balanced diet along with other healthy sleep practices for overall well-being.

Importance of considering individual factors and consulting healthcare professionals

It’s essential to recognize that individual factors can influence the relationship between vitamin C and sleep. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can help determine if vitamin C supplementation is necessary and appropriate for specific sleep concerns. They can provide personalized recommendations based on an individual’s overall health, lifestyle, and nutritional needs.


While the research on the connection between vitamin C and insomnia is still emerging, some studies suggest a potential association between adequate vitamin C levels and improved sleep quality. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties and its role in stress reduction and neurotransmitter synthesis offer plausible mechanisms for its influence on sleep.

More research is needed to establish a conclusive link between vitamin C and insomnia, including larger-scale studies and randomized controlled trials. Rigorous research designs and consideration of various factors will help provide a clearer understanding of the relationship.

In conclusion, vitamin C doesn’t seem to cause insomnia – it’s the opposite. Poor intake of vitamin C is what can cause insomnia due to hormone dysregulations, whereas optimal intake of this essential nutrient can promote your sleep by reducing stress levels.

While vitamin C alone may not be a magic solution for insomnia, maintaining a well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, including vitamin C, is crucial for overall health and well-being. Combined with healthy sleep habits, proper nutrition can contribute to promoting better sleep patterns and a more restful night’s sleep.


  1. Buysse DJ. Insomnia. JAMA. 2013 Feb 20;309(7):706-16. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.193. PMID: 23423416; PMCID: PMC3632369.,inability%20to%20return%20to%20sleep.
  2. Chambial S, Dwivedi S, Shukla KK, John PJ, Sharma P. Vitamin C in disease prevention and cure: an overview. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2013 Oct;28(4):314-28. doi: 10.1007/s12291-013-0375-3. Epub 2013 Sep 1. PMID: 24426232; PMCID: PMC3783921.
  3. Abdullah M, Jamil RT, Attia FN. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) [Updated 2022 Oct 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  4. Kaur H, Spurling BC, Bollu PC. Chronic Insomnia. [Updated 2023 Feb 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  5. de Oliveira IJ, de Souza VV, Motta V, Da-Silva SL. Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pak J Biol Sci. 2015 Jan;18(1):11-8. doi: 10.3923/pjbs.2015.11.18. PMID: 26353411.

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