Ever wake up feeling tired, even after a full night’s sleep? While it may be true you just had a restless night, a lack of vitamin D can also cause you to feel more tired than usual. In fact, not only can a vitamin D deficiency cause fatigue, but it also can affect other body functions. Luckily, there are plenty of easy, healthy ways to increase your vitamin D intake, even if you can’t soak up the sun every day. Read on for tips!

How much vitamin D do I need day to day?

The Mayo Clinic’s recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 1,000 to 2,000 IU (for context, one cup of milk has about 100 IU of vitamin D). However, certain factors including age can alter someone’s recommended daily intake of vitamin D. If you are unsure about your recommended amount, consult a medical professional to determine your goal.

How do I know if I am vitamin D deficient?

It’s easy to not get enough vitamin D, especially when you spend less time outdoors during the winter or have a job that doesn’t allow you to get outside very often. While many of the symptoms below can reflect other health conditions, vitamin D deficiency should be considered.

  • Fatigue: While many conditions can cause fatigue, vitamin D deficiency can make you feel tired all the time with no amount of sleep seeming to help.
  • Bone and Muscle Weakness: Your body uses vitamin D to help absorb calcium, which your body uses to build and strengthen bones. When you’re low on vitamin D, your bones can become soft.
  • Slow Wound Recovery: Vitamin D plays an important part in your body’s wound recovery. Not only does your body use vitamin D to heal the wound, it also uses it to prevent and fight against infections that may occur with open wounds.

How do I increase my vitamin D intake?

If you think you might be deficient, there are plenty of easy changes you can make to get more vitamin D throughout the day and help boost your health. The following are some easy ways to take in more vitamin D:

  • Over the Counter: Pick up a bottle of vitamin D supplements at your local drug store. In some cases, doses offered over the counter or in the daily diet are not enough and a higher dose is required. You may want to visit your health care provider to determine what dose is best for you.
  • Diet: Add foods that are rich in vitamin D to your everyday diet, such as fish (especially salmon, tuna, and sardines), beef liver, mushrooms, cheese, egg yolks, dairy products, and some juices (such as orange juice).
  • Sunlight: Try to work in at least 10 minutes of outdoor activity into your daily schedule, even when it’s cloudy. Don’t forget your sunscreen, as prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. If you can’t get outside, try to position yourself near a window during the day, or consider purchasing a vitamin D lamp for your home or office to mimic the effects of sunlight. Sunlamps may lead to increased UV exposure, so be sure to speak to your physician before testing them out.

If you still have symptoms after making these suggested changes, you may want to consult your physician. Your physician can perform routine blood work to determine if you are severely deficient and may prescribe a higher dose of vitamin D or other treatments.

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