Struggling With Low Iron? Here’s How to Raise Your Levels While You Sleep

Struggling With Low Iron? Here’s How to Raise Your Levels While You Sleep

Iron is an essential element that your body requires to function properly. It is engaged in several functions, including oxygen delivery via red blood cells and immune system maintenance. 

However, some people suffer from low iron levels, which, if not treated effectively, can develop into iron deficiency anemia. Because hectic schedules and fast-paced lifestyles sometimes allow little time for dietary preparation, learning how to raise iron levels overnight may be quite beneficial.

Why Iron Is Important To Health?

Iron is crucial to human health since it is engaged in a variety of bodily activities. It is an important component of hemoglobin, the portion of red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. Iron also helps to produce particular enzymes and hormones.

Furthermore, iron is necessary for a fully functioning immune system. Without adequate iron, our bodies may struggle to create enough white blood cells, restricting their capacity to combat infections and illnesses. Furthermore, iron shortage can result in iron deficiency anemia, which causes exhaustion, shortness of breath, and other symptoms.

How To Raise Iron Levels Overnight

Iron-Rich Evening Meal

Lean Protein

Consuming iron-rich meals in the evening can significantly contribute to increasing your iron levels overnight. Iron-rich foods include lean meat, chicken, fish, beans, dark green vegetables, dried fruit, fortified cereals, and whole-grain bread.

Bed Time Iron Snacks

Eating a nutritious, iron-rich snack before bed, such as a handful of dried fruits or nuts, can give a steady release of iron into the bloodstream throughout the night.

Evening Iron Supplement

If dietary adjustments are insufficient, your doctor may prescribe iron supplements. Taking these vitamins in the evening promotes nighttime absorption. Always contact a healthcare practitioner before beginning any new medicine or supplement program.

Combining Iron with Vitamin C

Vitamin C promotes iron absorption. Consuming vitamin C with your evening meal, or taking an iron supplement, can help your body absorb iron overnight.

Cooking in Cast Iron Cookware

Using cast iron cookware can enhance the iron content of the meal cooked in it, especially acidic foods such as tomato sauce or lemon juice. Preparing your evening meal with this type of cookware might offer an additional iron boost.

Consistent Sleep Schedule

A constant sleep cycle promotes the body’s natural functions, including food absorption. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day to provide your body with enough rest to absorb and utilize iron.

Limit your intake of caffeine and calcium-rich foods before bedtime

Both caffeine and calcium can decrease iron absorption. Limit your consumption of these in the hours preceding bedtime to prevent interfering with your body’s nightly iron absorption.

Eat More Frequent Meals

Eating smaller, more frequent meals can improve iron absorption. Instead of three substantial meals each day, opt for five or six lighter meals scattered throughout the day.

This improves the body’s ability to absorb and use iron from the diet. Large meals might overload the intestines, resulting in inadequate vitamin absorption. Smaller servings avoid this.

Additionally, eating more frequently keeps iron levels steady. Levels tend to drop as you go longer without eating. Regular meals ensure that an adequate quantity of iron is introduced.

Choose healthy, iron-rich options for your mini-meals. Some simple choices are yogurt with fruit, porridge with raisins, eggs on toast, tuna on crackers, and peanut butter and banana on whole grain bread.

Spreading your food intake over more frequent, lighter meals allows your body to absorb iron more efficiently. This helps maintain healthy iron levels over time.

What are Iron Absorption Inhibitors?

Certain foods can interfere with iron absorption when ingested at the same time as iron-rich meals or supplements. These iron absorption inhibitors include the following:

  • Calcium – Found in dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. Calcium binds to iron in the intestines, blocking absorption. Avoid calcium-rich foods with iron-rich meals.
  • Coffee and tea – Both contain polyphenols and tannins that can limit iron absorption. Avoid drinking these beverages during meals containing iron-rich foods.
  • Soy protein – This can decrease iron absorption, so avoid consuming soy protein isolates or concentrates at the same time as iron.
  • Eggs – Contain phosvitin, which can bind to iron and inhibit absorption. Avoid eating eggs at the same time as high-iron foods.
  • Fiber – While fiber is healthy, some forms like phytates in whole grains can impair iron absorption.
  • Antacids – Contain calcium that can prevent iron absorption. Do not take antacids such as Tums with iron supplements or iron-rich foods.

Overall, aim to restrict your consumption of these iron absorption inhibitors to 1-2 hours after taking iron-containing meals or supplements. This will increase your iron intake.

When to See a Doctor

While boosting iron levels overnight with dietary measures might assist with modest shortages, chronically low iron levels sometimes need medical attention. Consult your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue or weakness that persists even after trying to increase iron intake
  • Shortness of breath or dizziness
  • Unusually fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Headaches or problems concentrating
  • Swelling or soreness in your mouth
  • Pale skin or nails
  • Inflammation or soreness in your tongue
  • Cravings to chew ice or other non-food items
  • Noticeable emotional changes or depression

These symptoms may suggest an iron shortage, necessitating blood tests and possible therapy under medical care. Do not try to self-diagnose or treat severe or chronic iron deficiencies on your own. Your doctor may test your blood iron levels, rule out any underlying disorders, and offer the safest and most effective iron supplements or treatments if necessary.

Seeking medical attention as soon as possible is critical since extremely low iron levels can lead to major consequences over time if not treated properly. Allow your doctor to examine your condition and develop a treatment plan that is specific to your requirements. With expert help, you may obtain the iron you require and feel your best again.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read this article on Top 7 Iron-packed Drinks to Boost Your Health.

*This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical or dietary advice tailored to individual needs.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being