An observation of sleep improvement with vitamin D supplementation led to a 2 year uncontrolled trial of vitamin D supplementation in 1500 patients with neurologic complaints who also had evidence of abnormal sleep. Most patients had improvement in neurologic symptoms and sleep but only through maintaining a narrow range of 25(OH) vitamin D3 blood levels of 60-80 ng/ml. Comparisons of brain regions associated with sleep-wake regulation and vitamin D target neurons in the diencephalon and several brainstem nuclei suggest direct central effects of vitamin D on sleep. We propose the hypothesis that sleep disorders have become epidemic because of widespread vitamin D deficiency. The therapeutic effects together with the anatomic-functional correspondence warrant further investigation and consideration of vitamin D in the etiology and therapy of sleep disorders.
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