Vitamin D and Sleep Regulation: Is there a Role for Vitamin D?

Curr Pharm Des. 2020;26(21):2492-2496. doi: 10.2174/1381612826666200310145935.


Background: Vitamin D exerts multiple pleiotropic effects beyond its role in calcium-phosphate metabolism. Growing evidence suggests an association between hypovitaminosis D and sleep disorders, thus increasing the interest in the role of this vitamin in the regulatory mechanisms of the sleep-wake cycle.

Objective: The study aimed to explore and summarize the current knowledge about the role of vitamin D in sleep regulation and the impact of vitamin D deficiency on sleep disorders.

Methods: The main regulatory mechanisms of vitamin D on sleep are explained in this study. The literature was scanned to identify clinical trials and correlation studies showing an association between vitamin D deficiency and sleep disorders.

Results: Vitamin D receptors and the enzymes that control their activation and degradation are expressed in several areas of the brain involved in sleep regulation. Vitamin D is also involved in the pathways of production of Melatonin, the hormone involved in the regulation of human circadian rhythms and sleep. Furthermore, vitamin D can affect sleep indirectly through non-specific pain disorders, correlated with alterations in sleep quality, such as restless legs syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

Conclusion: Vitamin D has both a direct and an indirect role in the regulation of sleep. Although vitamin D deficiency has been associated to sleep disorders, there is still scant evidence to concretely support the role of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention or treatment of sleep disturbances; indeed, more intervention studies are needed to better clarify these aspects.

Keywords: Sleep; sleep disorders; sleep disturbance; sleep regulation; sun; vitamin D..

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / drug therapy
  • Vitamins


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D