The relationship between micronutrient status and sleep patterns: a systematic review

Public Health Nutr. 2017 Mar;20(4):687-701. doi: 10.1017/S1368980016002603. Epub 2016 Oct 5.


Objective: To review articles on the relationship of dietary and circulating micronutrients with sleep patterns, and to identify issues surrounding implications for future research and public health practice.

Design: A systematic review was conducted. PubMed, Embase and Scopus were searched through January 2016.

Setting: Both experimental and observational studies were included. However, studies that focused on secondary sleep impairment due to comorbidities were excluded.

Subjects: Individuals in different age groups, from infants to older adults.

Results: A total of twenty-six articles were selected. In the articles reviewed, researchers generally supported a potential role of micronutrients, particularly Fe and Mg, in the development of sleep stages among infants and in reversing age-related alterations in sleep architecture in older adults. Micronutrient status has also been linked to sleep duration, with sleep duration positively associated with Fe, Zn and Mg levels, and negatively associated with Cu, K and vitamin B12 levels. The mechanisms underlying these relationships include the impact of micronutrients on excitatory/inhibitory neurotransmitters and the expression of circadian genes.

Conclusions: Although the number of studies on the relationship between micronutrient status and sleep remains low, evidence has emerged that suggests a link between dietary/circulating micronutrients and sleep. Future research is needed to investigate the dose-dependent as well as the longitudinal relationships between micronutrient levels and human sleep across populations, test the interactions among micronutrients on sleep outcomes, and ultimately examine the clinical relevance of micronutrients on sleep health.

Keywords: Micronutrient; Mineral; Sleep; Trace element; Vitamin.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Sleep Stages
  • Sleep*
  • Young Adult


  • Micronutrients