Australians excel at many occupations and sports and now it seems we are excelling at insomnia. According to researchers at Flinders University at least 60% of Australian men and women of all age groups report they have one sleep symptom that occurs at least three times a week.  Our children also have sleep disorders with up to 28% of children being affected.
This Insomnia is known to cause daytime issues affecting social, occupational, academic and behavioural function. Those with Insomnia (sleep issues) report a very real impact on their daily activities, work and study. Many, experience fatigue, irritability, daytime sleepiness, reduced motivation, lack of focus, low concentration and poor academic performance.  Children with sleep disorders often exhibit hyperactivity and inattentiveness. 
The causes of insomnia and poor sleep are many and varied and include snoring, restless legs, sleep apnoea, breathing issues, medications and failure to get your eight hours. Relief from these conditions may lie in supplementing a dietary mineral.
Researchers have revealed a positive association between iron deficiency and sleep disorders and that iron supplementation improves conditions associated with sleep disorders and sleep quality.
Research finds iron deficiency and sleep disorders to be associated.
In 2017 Leung reviewed scientific research conducted over a 40-year period into the association between iron deficiency and sleep disorders. The review found a positive link between those with iron deficiency and the following sleep disorders; restless leg syndrome (RLS), periodic limb movements, general sleep disturbance, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.
Furthermore, iron supplementation was found to be a beneficial treatment for sleep disorders in these studies. The review concluded that testing for iron deficiency and iron supplementation in patients who present with sleep disorders would be beneficial in the management of these conditions.
An Australian research study observed iron-deficient blood donors had symptoms of RLS, chronic fatigue and poor sleep quality. They supplemented the patients with an iron over 8 to 12 weeks and found a significant improvement in the severity of symptoms for RLS, fatigue and sleep quality and a significant reduction in headache, dizziness and palpitations. 
Iron deficiency occurs in about two-thirds of children with restless leg syndrome (RLS)  and in paediatric populations, there is a definite association between iron deficiency and sleep-disordered breathing, periodic limb movements, ADHD and general sleep disturbance. Studies indicate iron supplementation in these cases to be beneficial.
How does iron deficiency affect sleep?
Sleep quality may be affected in iron deficiency as iron plays an important role in the metabolism of monoamines in the brain, impacting sleep physiology. Iron deficiency causes changes to neurotransmitter metabolism that can affect our sleep organisation such as dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. Dopamine also plays an important role in sleep regulation systems that are affected by iron deficiency.
Furthermore, a deficiency of iron alters our sleep stages such as rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) with long-lasting effects on sleep patterns.
Causes of low iron levels
Nutritional iron deficiency occurs when the demands of the body for iron are not met by dietary intake. Iron needs are high in growing children, during pregnancy and in menstruating women. It can also occur due to blood loss from intestinal parasites, through poor absorption or through low intake of bioavailable iron from a plant-based diet.
Should I take iron supplementation if I have Insomnia?
Iron supplementation should only be introduced after your health professional determines if you have low iron levels. This can be done with a simple blood test and you will then be prescribed an iron supplement at a dose appropriate for yourself or for your child.
Foods rich in iron
Food sources are important to maintain iron levels in your body. There are two iron types in food, haem iron and non-haem iron. Haem iron is the best source of iron as it is absorbed more readily than non-haem iron.
Haem iron-rich foods:
- Meat; beef, lamb, pork
- Poultry; chicken, turkey
- Seafood; salmon, sardines, tuna
- Offal; liver and kidney
Non-haem iron food sources
- Legumes; chickpeas, kidney beans
- Green leafy vegetables
If you are having trouble with sleep, seek help today. Your natural health care professional will discuss your symptoms, order pathology tests if appropriate and assess your nutritional status. But most importantly, they can provide you with a treatment plan to improve your sleep.
Your Practitioner may recommend THIS supplement