Vitamin B6 helps keep our nervous systems and immune systems healthy. And some people take B6 supplements to try and remember their dreams! Plus, vitamin B6 might help you sleep better, especially if you have trouble falling asleep at night.
Read on to learn what vitamin B6 is, what foods to find it in, and how it can help improve your sleep quality.
What Is Vitamin B6?
Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine. It is a vitamin that helps our bodies absorb food (especially sugars and fats) to give us energy. It also helps with developing our brains and skin! Vitamin B6 is a key part of regulating the production of amino acids and hormones in our bodies. As a result, B6 and other B vitamins have many health benefits.
Foods with Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is found in proteins like tuna, salmon, chicken, and organ meat. You can also find it in dark leafy greens, chickpeas, bananas, and other non-citrus fruits. Some breakfast cereals are also fortified with vitamins, which can make it easier to enjoy the benefits of vitamin B6.
Interested in making sure you’re getting the right vitamins to regulate your circadian rhythm? Check out our Nutrition and Sleep article to learn which food sources can help you get a good night’s sleep.
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
B6 deficiency is a serious issue. If you notice you have inflamed skin or a greasy, scaly rash; numb or prickly hands and feet; a sore or dry tongue; or are more confused and irritable than usual you might want to reach out to your healthcare provider. These may be symptoms of a vitamin B6 deficiency. Anemia and sleep disturbances might also suggest you have low levels of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 Benefits
Vitamin B6 has tons of great health benefits. It can improve your mood, decrease symptoms of sleep disorders, and boost immune function. It might even help prevent morning sickness! Read on below to learn the specifics.
May Regulate Mood and Decrease Depression
B6 can help regulate our moods by stimulating serotonin and dopamine production. These hormones play an important role in mood regulation, and increasing production with B6 might help you feel happier. B6 can also help you sleep better, and depression and sleep are very closely linked. Improving your mood can improve your sleep, and vice versa.
Increased Brain Function
The protein homocysteine can increase your risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s and general cognitive decline, especially in older adults. Vitamin B6 lowers levels of homocysteine in the body. So an unintended but welcome side effect of taking B6 is that it can improve your brain function. If you’re worried about memory loss, make sure to get plenty of vitamin B6 in your diet.
Boosted Melatonin and Serotonin Production
Vitamin B6 helps produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can regulate our moods. If you are feeling depressed, increasing your vitamin B6 intake might help relieve your symptoms. Additionally, B6 helps us produce melatonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. If you struggle with lack of sleep, low melatonin production might be an issue. Increasing your B6 intake (or taking a B complex vitamin that includes vitamin B1 through vitamin B12) might help you fall asleep more easily.
Interested in learning more about the link between low melatonin and poor sleep quality? Check out our Melatonin and Sleep guide.
Helps You Remember Your Dreams
Researchers from the University of Adelaide discovered that vitamin B6 might help you remember your dreams. In a study published in the Journal of Perceptual and Motor Skills, researchers split 100 participants aged 18 to 40 into three groups. One group of participants took a supplement containing 240 mg of vitamin B6 before bed each night. A second group took a supplement of B complex that contained vitamin B6 and other B vitamins. The third and final group took a placebo.
Results suggest a link between vitamin B6 and the ability to remember dreams. However, those who took vitamin B6 did not experience vivid, bizarre, or colorful dreams. It also didn’t significantly affect their sleep patterns.
Being unable to remember dreams could be a bad sign, especially if you experience tiredness throughout the day. If that sounds like you, you might want to increase your vitamin B6 intake.
Does Vitamin B6 Help You Sleep?
Yes, vitamin B6 can help you sleep by increasing melatonin production. Melatonin helps you fall asleep at night, which can help prevent sleep deprivation.
How Much Vitamin B6 Should I Take?
Clinical trials indicate that taking too much B6 can have negative side effects. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), adults aged 19-50 years should consume 1.3 mg of vitamin B6 per day. Older adults should consume a little more, and children and teens a little less. B6 is water-soluble, so you can take a supplement containing up to 100 mg of B6 per day and will excrete the rest. If you plan to start taking a B6 supplement to help you sleep, be sure to follow your doctor’s medical advice.
How Long Does It Take for Vitamin B6 to Work?
It can take B6 supplements up to one week to start working. Stick to your supplement schedule for at least seven days before deciding whether or not B6 works for you.
Best Vitamin B6 Supplements
Interested in taking vitamin B6 to improve your sleep but not sure which supplement to choose? We’ve listed some of our favorite B6 supplements below. B6 is one of the best natural sleep aids available, so you can’t go wrong with any brand.
- NowFoods offers 100 and 250-pill bottles of B6 supplements. These pills are also available in vegan capsules, which is a nice perk. If you want a basic B6 pill, NowFoods is the way to go.
- If you’re looking for something chewable, HUM offers B6 gummies that can also help with PMS symptoms like acne and bloating. If you’re looking to improve sleep and keep your hormones in balance, these gummies are a great choice.
- Finally, if you already take a magnesium supplement to build muscle and want to add B6 to help it work, consider Solgar’s combined magnesium and B6 supplement.
Who Should Take Vitamin B6 for Sleep?
Wondering if a B6 supplement will help you sleep better? Check out the list below for some guidance.
- If you don’t eat meat, a B6 supplement might help you sleep. B6 is found mainly in meat-based proteins, and it can be hard to get enough if you’re a vegetarian.
- If you have trouble falling asleep, taking B6 a few hours before bed might help your body create more melatonin so you can fall asleep faster.
- If you wake up often during the night, vitamin B6 could help you stay asleep longer.
Who Should Not Take Vitamin B6 for Sleep?
Vitamin B6 might interact with other medicines. If you have a preexisting health condition, check with your doctor before taking B6. We’ve listed some common drugs that may interact with B6 below. Make sure to tell your doctor what supplements and medicines you take before he or she prescribes you any new medication.
- Certain chemotherapy drugs might make B6 supplements less effective.
- Barbiturates can make B6 supplements less effective.
- If you have epilepsy, taking B6 might make your medication less effective. Consult a doctor before adding a B6 supplement to your routine.
- Vitamin B6 can make cycloserine (a tuberculosis antibiotic) ineffective and worsen its side effects.
Can you overdose on vitamin B6?
Taking too much vitamin B6 in a supplement for a year or longer might cause nerve damage. But you can’t get too much B6 from a regular diet. If you’re nervous, consult a doctor before starting a B6 supplement.
Can vitamin B6 help anxiety?
Vitamin B6 can help regulate your mood, and taking supplements with high levels of vitamin B6 might help with anxiety. But you should speak with a doctor before starting this treatment. A standard B6 supplement might also help you feel happier and sleep better because anxiety and sleep are closely linked.
Can I take vitamin B6 at night?
Yes, you can take vitamin B6 at night. In fact, it is recommended that you take your B6 supplement before bed.
Does vitamin B6 give you energy?
Yes, B6 can help you sleep better and give you more energy during the day. In fact, if you’re feeling unusually tired and sluggish, you might have a B6 deficiency.