HOUSTON – Sleepless nights happen to all of us, but if you toss and turn every night, it can be a sign of a bigger health issue.
Your body may be Vitamin D deficient.
Debra Kerr is the picture of health. The 56-year old grandmother loves working out and staying active. However, that wasn't always the case.
A boating accident in 2011 left her with several broken bones. After her body healed, Kerr was left with insomnia and overwhelming fatigue.
"This chronic exhaustion never went away. I thought it was a lot of work or a lot of travel. But, working with Dr. Gisele I realized there was a significant deficiency in Vitamin D," Kerr said.
"Vitamin D is vital for every function from bone health to brain health," Dr. Gisele Leon-Ritch said.
Being in sunlight is one way to get the Vitamin D we need, but with more people wearing sunscreen, doctors say many people, especially people with darker skin, are Vitamin D deficient.
"I would say in my practice 50% of my patients are Vitamin D deficient. In Debra's case, when she came to me, she had chronic inflammation and insomnia," Leon-Ritch said.
For Kerr, finding out she was Vitamin D deficient was the real game changer.
A recent study showed a direct link between Vitamin D and better quality and quantity of sleep.
Once Kerr started taking Vitamin D supplements, things improved.
"My energy is there. I am high energy. I am always on the go. I don't have that level of fatigue that I used to have," Kerr said.
Sunlight is just one way to get a dose of Vitamin D. You also get Vitamin D in higher amounts from fatty fish like salmon, trout, and tuna or from fortified foods, such as milk and yogurt.