Zinc Has an Unexpected Sleep Benefits

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/08/2024

Many people are unaware of zinc's crucial role in promoting restful slumber.

Maintaining adequate levels of zinc is paramount for ensuring optimal health and well-being, as it is essential for the initiation and duration of quality sleep. Discover the complex relationship between zinc and sleep and explore how adenosine production and imbalanced neurotransmitters can impact sleep.

The Importance of Zinc for Quality Sleep

Zinc is a crucial mineral that helps regulate sleep by stimulating adenosine release and producing neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, melatonin, and glutamate.

Adenosine and Sleep

Throughout the day, adenosine levels increase in the brain, leading to the initiation of sleepiness.

Zinc is crucial in regulating adenosine metabolism and subsequently helps to improve sleep quality.

Woman sleeping

Neurotransmitters for Restful Sleep

Zinc helps to facilitate the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, melatonin, and glutamate, which regulate moods, sleep-wake cycles, and relaxation for improved restful sleep.

  • Dopamine: Regulates mood and motivation while playing a part in regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

  • Serotonin: Helps regulate our circadian rhythm or internal clock.

  • Melatonin: Controls when we fall asleep at night by signaling to our brain that it's time for rest.

  • Glutamate: Helps us fall asleep by interacting with other chemicals like gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which promotes relaxation and sleepiness.

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency Affecting Sleep

A zinc deficiency can lead to difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings during the night, and waking up feeling unrefreshed despite getting enough sleep.

Difficulty Falling Asleep

Inadequate zinc levels can prevent the production of adenosine and essential neurotransmitters, making it difficult to fall asleep.

Consider taking a zinc supplement if you can't sleep at night, even when tired.

Frequent Nighttime Awakenings

Zinc-deficient individuals may experience imbalances in their neurotransmitter levels, leading to frequent nighttime awakenings and preventing deep REM sleep stages.

Feeling Tired Upon Waking Up

Lack of sufficient zinc can result in inadequate production of crucial hormones responsible for regulating our internal clock, leading to feelings of grogginess upon waking up.

Foods Rich in Zinc

Eat foods high in zinc, such as oysters, pumpkin seeds, lentils, beef, and nuts, to improve sleep quality.


Oysters are an exceptional source of zinc, providing more than six times the recommended daily allowance for adults. In addition, oysters contain taurine, which supports physical performance and promotes better sleeping cycles.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a delicious snack that doubles as a sleep aid, boasting around 7 mg of zinc per 100 grams and providing magnesium, another essential mineral for relaxation and quality sleep.


Beef, particularly lean cuts like sirloin or tenderloin, is another excellent source of zinc, providing about 5 mg per 100 grams, and may contribute to better sleep by supporting melatonin production.


Certain nuts like almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews provide significant amounts of zinc (ranging from 2-4 mg per 100 grams). They are easy to incorporate into your daily routine as a snack or topping on oatmeal or yogurt bowls.

Zinc: The Secret to Better Sleep

Zinc is essential for regulating sleep quality and promoting deep sleep. Consuming zinc-rich foods or supplements can improve sleep quality and duration.

Taking zinc at night has been found to support relaxation and deeper sleep cycles.


Zinc is a sleep superhero, helping to produce neurotransmitters that promote restful slumber and regulate adenosine buildup. A zinc deficiency can lead to trouble falling asleep, frequent awakenings, and fatigue upon waking.

Zinc-rich foods like oysters or zinc supplements promote healthy zinc levels and may benefit sleep quality.

Supporting Data



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