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The Role of Choline in Sleep Quality : Benefits and Food Sources

Choline is a vital nutrient that plays a critical role in numerous bodily functions, including brain function, liver health, and gastrointestinal health. Adequate sleep is also essential for overall health and well-being, as it is involved in hormone regulation, immune system maintenance, and mental sharpness. Understanding how choline can impact sleep quality is an important aspect of maintaining good health.

Choline is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for producing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in various mental processes. Inadequate consumption of choline can lead to liver disease, mental decline, and muscle wasting, so it’s crucial to ensure that you’re getting enough of this nutrient.

Additionally, sleep deprivation can result in numerous negative consequences, including chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as mental health issues like depression. Choline’s impact on sleep quality is thought to be related to its role in regulating neurotransmitter production, sleep-wake cycles, and melatonin control, all of which are essential for promoting regular and restful slumber.

The Role of Choline in Sleep Quality

  1. Choline and the Synthesis of Neurotransmitters

    The neurotransmitter acetylcholine plays a crucial role in regulating sleep, and choline is an essential component in its creation. Several studies have shown that enough dietary choline is crucial for maintaining a healthy nervous system and for managing one’s sleep patterns.(1) Reduced acetylcholine levels are associated with a decline in the ability to regulate sleep as individuals age.

  2. Choline in Regulating Melatonin Levels.

    The hormone melatonin regulates our sleeping and waking schedules. Darkness triggers an increase in melatonin synthesis, signaling to the body that it is time for sleep. Several studies have shown that choline supplements improve sleep quality and duration by stimulating the body’s natural production of melatonin. (2) To guarantee that melatonin is released at the right time, choline has also been found to aid in the management of the body’s circadian rhythm.

  3. Choline and the Regulation of Sleep and Wakefulness

    Choline has a function in the management of the sleep-wake cycle because it increases the production of neurotransmitters involved in the control of sleep. Choline, in particular, has been shown to increase the quantity of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is necessary for optimal mental health, memory retention, and emotional regulation.(3) Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is crucial to proper brain function since it is when dreaming occurs.

Scientific Evidence Supporting The Potential Benefits Of Choline In Sleep Quality

Multiple studies have looked at the impact choline may have on sleep quality, and the findings are promising. Some key results are as follows:

  1. Studies Investigating Choline’s Role In Neurotransmitter Synthesis

    According to studies healthy persons who took choline supplements saw benefits in cognitive performance and an increase in the amount of time spent in REM sleep.(4) Taking choline supplements was also shown to be an effective way of reversing the cognitive decline associated with sleep deprivation.

  2. Studying How Choline Affects Melatonin Production

    Researchers found that healthy persons who took choline supplements had increased levels of the hormone melatonin. It was shown in the study that choline supplementation improved sleep quality and duration.(5)

  3. Investigations Of How Choline Affects Sleep-Wake Cycles

    A study found that healthy persons who took a choline supplement saw a significant increase in their REM sleep duration. The study also found that improving cognitive function and memory storage by taking choline supplements was beneficial.(6)

Other Potential Benefits of Choline

The potential benefits of choline for the quality of sleep it promotes are just one of several prospective benefits for general health that choline possesses.

The following are some potential benefits:

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that has a function in learning, memory, and attention, and choline is a required component for its creation. The brain can’t work without choline.

Choline also plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of cell membranes, which are essential for healthy brain function. Choline satisfies the two conditions. Several studies have shown that obtaining an adequate quantity of choline may improve learning, memory, and focus.

Choline, a vital nutrient for proper liver function, may also have a protective effect against liver damage. Digestive bile is produced in the liver, which is responsible for digesting nutrients and eliminating toxins from the body. Phosphatidylcholine is a lipid found in cell membranes and is crucial to the liver’s health. Phosphatidylcholine cannot be made without choline. An inadequate quantity of choline in the diet may lead to fatty liver disease, liver damage, or even liver failure.

Choline is needed for the production of phosphatidylcholine, a lipid that plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of intestinal cell membranes. Choline is important for intestinal health as well. Choline is also required for the synthesis of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a chemical linked to normal gastrointestinal function. Studies have shown that choline supplements improve gut health and reduce the risk of acquiring gastrointestinal diseases.(7)

Food Sources of Choline

Choline may be found in a variety of foods, including but not limited to the following:

  • Eggs- Eggs are a great source of Choline since they include so much of it per serving (around 147 mg in a large egg).
  • Beef liver- Beef liver is one of the best dietary sources of choline. One of the most choline-rich meals is beef liver, with around 355 mg in only three ounces.
  • Fatty fish- Fatty fish like salmon and cod are especially rich sources of choline. About 150 milligrams of choline may be found in a three-ounce serving of fish.
  • Brussels sprouts- Among vegetables, brussels sprouts are among the best sources of choline, with 63 milligrams per cooked cup.

Choline Supplementation and Dosages

Choline is an essential vitamin for proper bodily functioning. Even while your body has the ability to produce some choline, it’s usually not enough to meet your needs. Choline can only be received exogenously, via food or dietary supplements.

Choline is available as a dietary supplement in many different forms, such as choline bitartrate, alpha-GPC, and CDP-Choline, to name a few. Different types of choline are recommended for different purposes, therefore it’s important to research both before starting a supplement regimen.

Choline bitartrate, the most common kind of choline supplement, is used to boost brain power, liver health, and overall well-being. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Choline Bitartrate is between 300 and 600 milligrams; however, this amount may vary from person to person depending on their specific needs.

Alpha-GPC is a supplement intended to improve mental and physical performance; it is a more potent variant of the amino acid choline. The daily dosage of alpha-GPC that has been recommended is between 300 and 600 mg.

CDP-Choline is a variant of the choline supplement used to improve brainpower, memory, and disposition. The typical recommended daily allowance for CDP-Choline is between 300 and 600 mg.

Eating foods rich in choline is another way to increase dietary consumption. Some foods that are particularly high in choline content include eggs, beef liver, salmon, and Brussels sprouts. By eating a well-balanced diet that includes foods that are rich in Choline, individuals may make sure they are meeting their Choline needs and supporting their overall health and wellness.

Potential Side Effects and Interactions

Unwanted side effects from consuming too much choline include feeling sick, throwing up, having diarrhea, and sweating excessively. Supplemental choline is generally safe when taken in the recommended amounts; nevertheless, high doses have been linked to the aforementioned side effects. You should see a medical professional and make sure you’re taking the right dosage of any supplements before beginning a new supplement regimen.

Anticholinergic drugs and blood thinners are two examples of medications that may be affected by supplemental choline. Allergy and asthma medications are common uses for anticholinergic drugs. Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter synthesized with the help of choline, may be counteracted by these therapies. Choline supplements may decrease the effectiveness of anticholinergic therapy and increase the risk of side effects if used at the same time.

However, blood thinners are known to increase the risk of bleeding when used with choline supplements. Choline is important for blood clotting because it promotes the production of platelets. However, the risk of severe bleeding may be increased when blood thinners are used with choline supplements.

If someone is currently on medication or has a history of a preexisting health problem, they should talk to their doctor before beginning any new supplement program. A doctor is the best person to advise you on proper dosing and any medication interactions.


To summarize, choline is a vital nutrient that plays a role in several bodily processes, including liver health, brain function, and digestive health. Adequate sleep is also essential for overall health and well-being. Studies suggest that choline may have a role in regulating sleep quality through its impact on neurotransmitter production, sleep-wake cycle, and melatonin synthesis.

While the findings are encouraging, further research is needed to determine the exact relationship between choline and sleep quality. In addition to incorporating choline-rich foods like eggs, cow liver, salmon, and Brussels sprouts into one’s diet, individuals may also benefit from taking choline supplements under the guidance of a medical professional.

It’s important to remember that sleep quality is influenced by various factors, including stress levels, diet, and lifestyle habits. Therefore, prioritizing overall health and well-being by exercising regularly, managing stress in healthy ways, and maintaining a healthy diet can also positively impact sleep quality.

In conclusion, choline is a crucial nutrient with the potential to impact sleep quality, but more research is needed to fully understand its effects. Prioritizing overall health through healthy lifestyle practices and incorporating choline-rich foods or supplements may be a step towards better sleep quality and overall well-being.


  1. Javaid S, Farooq T, Rehman Z, et al. Dynamics of Choline-Containing Phospholipids in Traumatic Brain Injury and Associated Comorbidities. Int J Mol Sci. 2021;22(21):11313. Published 2021 Oct 20. doi:10.3390/ijms222111313https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8583393/?report=classic
  2. Guo F, Wang Y, Wang J, et al. Choline Protects the Heart from Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity through Vagal Activation and Nrf2/HO-1 Pathway. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2022;2022:4740931. Published 2022 Apr 5. doi:10.1155/2022/4740931https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7924032/?report=classic
  3. Berding K, Vlckova K, Marx W, et al. Diet and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis: Sowing the Seeds of Good Mental Health. Adv Nutr. 2021;12(4):1239-1285. doi:10.1093/advances/nmaa181https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9005275/?report=classic
  4. Faiq MA, Wollstein G, Schuman JS, Chan KC. Cholinergic nervous system and glaucoma: From basic science to clinical applications. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2019;72:100767. doi:10.1016/j.preteyeres.2019.06.003https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6739176/?report=classic
  5. Jennings L, Basiri R. Amino Acids, B Vitamins, and Choline May Independently and Collaboratively Influence the Incidence and Core Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Nutrients. 2022;14(14):2896. Published 2022 Jul 14. doi:10.3390/nu14142896https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9318435/?report=classic
  6. Randunu RS, Bertolo RF. The Effects of Maternal and Postnatal Dietary Methyl Nutrients on Epigenetic Changes that Lead to Non-Communicable Diseases in Adulthood. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(9):3290. Published 2020 May 6. doi:10.3390/ijms21093290https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7927055/?report=classic
  7. Freedman SN, Shahi SK, Mangalam AK. The “Gut Feeling”: Breaking Down the Role of Gut Microbiome in Multiple Sclerosis. Neurotherapeutics. 2018 Jan;15(1):109-125. doi: 10.1007/s13311-017-0588-x. PMID: 29204955; PMCID: PMC5794701.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5794701/?report=classic
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 23, 2023

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