Vitamin B6 for Sleep: Benefits, Dosage, and Its Role In Improving Your Sleep Cycle

  • By Performance Lab
  • 5 minute read
Vitamin B6 for Sleep: Benefits, Dosage, and Its Role In Improving Your Sleep Cycle

Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient important for synthesizing GABA, tryptophan, and serotonin (converted to melatonin), all impacting sleep. And a deficiency of vitamin B6 has been linked to insomnia and depression.

If you’ve spent hours watching the time pass or the entire night tossing and turning, you know that getting enough shut-eye isn’t always easy.

While looking at your bedtime habits is an excellent place to start, it’s also worth considering what you are—or aren’t—putting in your body.

Vitamins and minerals profoundly impact your body's optimal performance, and a deficiency of specific nutrients can several impair sleep quality.

Luckily, supplementation can be the answer to your prayers. If you’re taking B6 or unfamiliar with the link between vitamin B6 and sleep, you’re in the right place.

We’ll cover what it is, how it impacts sleep, and how much you need to get the deep, restorative sleep you’re desperately craving.

If you stick around, we’ll also give you our top two supplements to help improve sleep quality and quantity!

(Hint: they're NutriGenesis Multi + Performance Lab Sleep!).

What is vitamin B6?

Before we dive into the details of vitamin B6, it’s essential to understand that diet and sleep are intricately connected.

While lifestyle habits like exercise, stress, alcohol, smoking, and the like contribute to sleep patterns, nutrient deficiencies or excesses are also a big part.

Too much of something or not enough of another can increase the risk of developing a sleep disorder like insomnia and sleep apnea, thanks to their role in regulating our circadian rhythm—the 24-hour biorhythms that control our sleep-wake cycle.

When you can leverage a healthy diet and fulfill your nutrient needs, it’s easy to get the sleep you need. And while altering your diet is #1, supplements can also come in handy to fill in the gaps.

With that said, let’s turn to vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine.

B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential to many physiological functions in the body. It benefits brain health, energy metabolism, mood, stress response, and sleep 1.

In its phosphorylated and most active form, pyridoxal 5’-phosphate (PLP), vitamin B6 also plays a primary role in acting as a cofactor for many essential enzymes, especially in amino acid and fatty acid metabolism.

On top of that, it’s also involved in 1, 2:

  • Degradation of storage carbohydrates (especially glycogen)
  • Hemoglobin formation
  • Protective agent against reactive oxygen species (free radicals)
  • Neurotransmitter synthesis (serotonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and GABA)
  • Immune function

    But like all other B vitamins, your body can’t produce vitamin B6, so you must obtain it through diet or supplementation.

    And considering it’s involved in more than 100 enzymatic reactions, getting enough is pretty important.

    But as we said, it’s a delicate balance—too little can lead to symptoms like irritability, emotional disturbances, confusion, and sleep disturbances, while too much can also interfere with sleep 3, 4.

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    Does vitamin B6 help sleep?

    Speaking of sleep, it’s time to jump to the topic of this article—the link between B6 and sleep.

    Vitamin B6 is involved in many functions essential to optimal physiological performance. Still, a couple of mechanisms link B6 and sleep, namely its involvement in neurotransmitter synthesis.

    As we mentioned, B6 plays a vital role in synthesizing three key neurotransmitters/hormones in the brain involved in sleep: tryptophan, serotonin, and GABA.

    • Tryptophan is an amino acid that’s an important precursor to the “happy hormone” serotonin, which helps to regulate mood and is also converted into the sleep hormone melatonin. It is a co-factor in the tryptophan-serotonin pathway, and without sufficient B6 (along with other vitamins), the body can’t convert tryptophan to serotonin or support melatonin production 5.

    • GABA is another amino acid naturally present in the brain that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter to block excitatory impulses in the brain to decrease nervous system activity. GABA is the “calming” neurotransmitter and may help relax the brain, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote sleep 6.  

    In simple terms, adequate levels of B6 support the hormones and neurotransmitters needed to reduce brain activity and stimulate sleep.

    Without sufficient amounts, neurotransmitter synthesis is impaired, leading to disrupted sleep.

    As such, a lack of vitamin B6 has been linked to insomnia and depression, and studies show that supplementing with a magnesium-melatonin-vitamin B complex group can benefit insomnia 7.

    But another interesting facet of vitamin B6 and sleep is dream recall and lucid dreaming. A 2002 study looked at the effect of vitamin B6 on dreams and found that it had a dose-dependent effect of increasing dream vividness, bizarreness, emotionality, and color.

    In a more recent 2018 study designed to replicate the previous study, researchers looked at the effects of B6 on dreams and sleep after supplementing with 240 mg of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride) before bed for five consecutive days 4.

    Results showed that vitamin B6 can significantly improve dream recall but didn’t significantly affect dream vividness, bizarreness, color, or other sleep-related variables.

    That said, the participants taking B6 also reported poor sleep quality and higher levels of tiredness upon waking, so more research is needed on the effects of B6 on sleep.

    Health benefits of vitamin B6

    Although it’s clear that vitamin B6 is involved in regulating sleep patterns, likely via neurotransmitter and hormone synthesis, the benefits of taking B6 extend beyond just sleep.

    A vitamin B6 supplement may also be beneficial for:

    • Improving mood
    • Alleviating PMS symptoms
    • Preventing anemia
    • Maintaining healthy blood vessels
    • Supporting brain health
    • Protects eye health
    • May reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
    • It may lower blood pressure
    • Relieves morning sickness and nausea

      How much B6 do you need?

      As we said earlier, B6 is an essential nutrient that cannot be produced in the body and must come through diet or supplementation.

      Because B6 is so important for the function of the nervous system, a deficiency can manifest as several symptoms but is most commonly associated with neuropsychiatric disorders, including seizures, migraines, chronic pain, and mood disorders like depression 8, 9.

      But how much keeps us out of deficiency territory and supports cognitive health and sleep?

      According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), daily requirements for vitamin B6 currently sit at 1.3 mg for adults 19-50 years old, 1.7 mg for males over 51 years old, and 1.5 mg for women over 51 years old 10.

      Where to get enough

      While B6 is widely available in all sorts of food—milk, cheese, salmon, tuna, eggs, beef, chicken liver, etc.–supplementation offers an alternative route that ensures you’re meeting your needs.

      And if you're wondering where to find it, we have the perfect duo to support optimal performance and sleep: Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi + Performance Lab Sleep.

      NutriGenesis Multi is a complex of 17+ essential vitamins and minerals complexed with cofactors for maximum absorption and bioactivity.

      It supplies 100% RDA of all the required nutrients to help your body thrive, including NutriGenesis vitamin B6—a nature-identical form of vitamin B6 to offer sleep and metabolic support.

      The other half of the duo is Performance Lab Sleep—an ultra-modern synthetic melatonin-free sleep supplement designed to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

      Stacking nature’s most potent sleep-supportive nutrients—natural melatonin from Montmorency cherries, tryptophan, and three forms of magnesium—Sleep supports consistent sleep patterns and promotes nightly mind-body cell renewal for peak next-day performance with no groggy side effects.


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      2. Stover PJ, Field MS. Vitamin B-6. Adv Nutr. 2015;6(1):132-133.
      3. Kennedy DO. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy--A Review. Nutrients. 2016;8(2):68.
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      10. Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes and its Panel on Folate, Other B Vitamins, and Choline. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1998. 7, Vitamin B6. Available from: