Can I Take Vitamins Before I Go to Bed?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Tip

Taking vitamins before bed won't influence their effectiveness. Certain individuals may find that vitamins keep them up due to digestive problems or the effects of other ingredients in multivitamin supplements.

Be Careful With B?

In addition to not working properly, you may worry that taking vitamins before bed will keep you up at night. That depends on the dosage, which vitamins you take and your own personal sensitivity to the nutrients. Although there's no evidence to support it, anecdotally, some users report experiencing an energy boost after taking B vitamins.

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The eight B vitamins are known for their role in promoting energy because, collectively, they are involved in the metabolism of food. Individual B vitamins, such as B12, play major roles in healthy red blood cell production and the transport of oxygen to the body's tissues, which is crucial for maintaining energy levels.

Factors Affecting Absorption

Although it's not likely to matter if you take your vitamins at night or in the morning, it does matter how you take them. Some vitamins can cause digestive problems when taken on an empty stomach, and others are better absorbed when taken with meals.

It's sometimes recommended to take vitamin C with food because it can upset some people's stomachs, although there are formulations of the vitamin that are easier on the stomach.

Sleep and Your Stomach

Any vitamins have the potential to upset your stomach, which can keep you up at night. Some people have a particular sensitivity to one nutrient or another that can cause a rumbling tummy, stomach ache, nausea or diarrhea. In addition, if you have acid reflux problems, some vitamins can make things worse. Acid reflux is sometimes more pronounced at night, so the combination could cause you to lose shut-eye.

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Another factor that can make taking vitamins before bed a bad idea is the other ingredients in your supplement. Many multivitamins or nighttime recovery supplements that include vitamins contain ingredients that could upset your stomach. Whey protein, for example, can upset your stomach if you're lactose- intolerant; sugar alcohols can also cause digestive problems.

If your supplement contains sugar, that could interrupt your sleep. Sugar can raise your blood sugar level, which can make you feel temporarily energetic. That isn't helpful if your goal is to fall asleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, eating sugar at any time of day can cause you to wake up more often in the middle of the night.

Other ingredients in your supplement may contain caffeine. According to the USDA, ingredients to look out for include cocoa, guarana, tea, yerba mate and kola nut. Make sure to scan your vitamin supplement and verify that there are no ingredients that are known for being energizing or that you think may upset your stomach.

Do You Even Need Them?

All of these issues can be made worse if you are taking megadoses of certain vitamins. Taking conservative amounts close to the recommended dietary intakes shouldn't cause a problem. But many supplements contain way more than the RDI. Taking megadoses of certain vitamins can be dangerous and isn't likely to offer any benefits unless you have a deficiency or your doctor has recommended them for another health condition.

The truth is that most vitamin supplements — at any dose — aren't likely to do much for your health. People often take vitamins as "nutritional insurance," hoping to cover their bases if they eat a less-than-healthy diet. Even people who eat a healthy diet take vitamin supplements in hopes that extra nutrients will prevent disease.

There's no evidence that taking multivitamins before bed — or any other time of day — prevents disease, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. What is proven to prevent disease is a healthy diet comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality lean, unprocessed meats, fish, dairy, beans, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats.

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