Potassium  & better sleep

Everyone suffers from it from time to time: sleepless nights. For some, sleeplessness lasts only a few days, but most people suffer from it for a long time. This can eventually lead to a chronic lack of sleep, which in turn can lead to all kinds of health problems. Did you know that the most common cause of disturbed sleep is a vitamin deficiency? Below, you can read more about the vitamin potassium and how it can support you in getting a good night's sleep.

What is insomnia?

Bad sleep can consist of various symptoms, such as lying awake for a long time, waking up too early or sleeping through the night. This makes you tired during the day and sometimes irritable. The cause of insomnia is often difficult to find. For example, you may develop sleeping problems due to tension/stress or other psychological complaints such as depression and/or anxiety. Sometimes physical complaints play a role, for example if you suffer from tightness of the chest, coughing, palpitations, night sweats, itching or restless legs. Bad habits can also cause disturbed sleep. For example, if you have a disturbed day and night rhythm due to travelling a lot or working irregular shifts, this can lead to sleeping problems. In addition, substances such as smoking, coffee, tea, soft drinks, alcohol and chocolate have a bad influence on sleep. In some cases, a sleep disorder is responsible for sleeping problems. You may suffer from sleep apnoea, restless legs, delayed sleep phase syndrome or narcolepsy. A shortage of potassium can also cause fatigue complaints.

What is potassium?

Potassium is a mineral salt that is responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses and the regulation of blood pressure. A normal potassium value lies between 2.5 and 5.1 mmol/litre. The body takes up potassium through food and drink, such as bananas, avocado, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and sprouts. The kidneys regulate the amount of potassium absorbed by the body. If there is an excess of potassium, the kidneys ensure that it is excreted. It is therefore unlikely that your body has an excess of potassium. A potassium deficiency, also known as hypokalaemia, rarely occurs as a result of too low an intake in food. If there is a potassium deficiency, it may be due to the use of diuretics, bronchodilators or laxatives. Vomiting (also from eating disorders), diarrhoea and long-term malnutrition can also lead to a potassium deficiency. Consuming (too) much liquorice can also cause potassium deficiency and increased blood pressure. Finally, an increased production of aldosterone can lead to a potassium deficiency, because this hormone stimulates the kidneys to lose extra potassium through the urine.

How does potassium help a better night's sleep?

People often think of magnesium or melatonin to help them sleep. However, potassium also plays an important role in the sleep-wake rhythm and works well together with magnesium. There is also a proven link between the deepest sleep in the sleep cycle and potassium. The body needs sufficient potassium to function properly, because together with sodium (salt) potassium ensures that cells absorb and secrete the right substances. Potassium ions are admitted through potassium channels. Potassium channels ensure a stable resting potential by allowing the membrane potential to return to the resting potential after an action potential. Our sleep improves when there is a good balance between these signals, something in which potassium plays an important role.