Can Magnesium Help You Sleep?
Sleep sounds like such a basic human act that should require little effort – yet somewhere between 50 and 70 million American adults have a sleep disorder. And that does not even include those who just have some sleep ups and downs – perhaps due to stressful times.
The truth is, only around 35% of adults are getting enough sleep on any given night.
Medical intervention is many people’s go-to choice to get a night of rest, but sleeping pills come with their own set of issues including dependency and addiction.
The great news is there are all-natural, safe alternatives. One of which is magnesium. I want to show you how increasing your magnesium intake during the day can help you increase your sleep at night.
What Exactly Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral…and not just any old mineral. It is the “fourth most abundant mineral in the body.” Not only is it found in our teeth and bones, but it is also found in some the food we eat.
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Magnesium is responsible for an unbelievable amount of biochemical reactions in the body (over 300 actually). These include muscle contraction, nerve function, bone density, metabolization of glucose and insulin, blood platelet production, and much, much more.
Being deficient in this important mineral can lead to all sorts of problems. And here is the sad news: around 50% (at least) of those in the U.S. are estimated to have a magnesium deficiency.
This happens for all sorts of reasons including poor diet, Crohn’s and Celiac, type 2 diabetes, alcoholism, and more.
But how does this important mineral play a role in helping you sleep better? Whether or not you are deficient, let’s take a look at the direct and indirect ways extra magnesium can be a natural sleep aid.
A Study On Magnesium And Insomnia
I want to show you a study researchers performed to see how magnesium could help those with insomnia.
46 elderly people were chosen at random to receive either a magnesium supplement or a placebo pill each day for 8 weeks. They were given questionnaires before and after the study to record their:
- Insomnia severity index
- Physical activity levels/types
Researchers also took into consideration each subject’s daily intake of magnesium, potassium, caffeine, and overall calories.
Researchers also took blood samples before and after the study to test thing like magnesium levels, melatonin, and cortisol.
Before the study, these subjects had no significant differences.
After the study, it’s a different story.
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The magnesium group had “statistically significant increases” in areas like sleep time, sleep efficiency, melatonin – and decrease in their insomnia severity index score, sleep onset latency, and cortisol concentration.
As you can see, this study was a great step in showing how this all-natural substance can make significant impact in not only small sleep problems, but also insomnia itself.
Only around 35% of adults are getting enough sleep on any given night.
Other Sleepy Qualities Of Magnesium
Outside of its direct ability to help you sleep well, magnesium also functions in ways that indirectly help your sleep too.
- Manages your circadian rhythm: You are supposed to be sleepy at night and awake during the day. Many people experience the exact opposite. Magnesium helps rebalance this issue.
- Lowers cortisol: Cortisol is a stress hormone, and we all know that stress and peaceful sleep do not go well together. One study showed that magnesium supplementation could prevent cortisol increases.
- Prevents Anxiety: Staying on the topic of stress, magnesium deficiency has been shown to induce anxiety. If anxiety is keeping you awake, you may be benefited by a magnesium supplement.
- Calms Muscle Aches: If you have issues with muscle cramping or spasming, you know the pain can make it hard to fall asleep. Magnesium will relax your muscles.
A magnesium supplement can also do fabulous things for your health outside of helping you catch your zzz’s.
This includes preventing osteoporosis, controlling migraines, improving heart health, and regulating other minerals in your body.
Food Sources Of Magnesium
If you want to boost your magnesium intake through your diet, here are some of my favorite magnesium-rich foods (plus I’ll add the magnesium content per serving):
- Almonds (80 mg)
- Spinach (78 mg)
- Peanuts (63 mg)
- Black Beans (60 mg)
- Edamame (50 mg)
- Avocado (44 mg)
- Baked Potato with skin (43 mg)
- Oatmeal (36 mg)
- Banana (32 mg)
- Salmon (26 mg)
- Halibut (24 mg)
- Chicken Breast (22 mg)
- Broccoli (12 mg)
One thing that is important to keep in mind is there are multiple types of magnesium. This is not a “one size fits all” sort of mineral. Here are some of the common magnesium types.
- Magnesium Chelate
- Magnesium Citrate
- Magnesium Chloride Oil
- Magnesium Glycinate
- Magnesium Threonate
Some magnesium types have a laxative effect; this includes magnesium citrate. While citrate can be great for digestive issues, it is not always great for a good night’s sleep.
Magnesium chelate and magnesium glycinate are known for being both highly and easily absorbable – and they do not have the laxative qualities – so they can be a great place to start for a sleep supplement.
Magnesium Dietary Allowances
If you do decide to supplement with magnesium, it is important to not overdo it. The National Institutes of Health has an “Office of Dietary Supplements” which lays out daily allowances of different vitamins and minerals.
These are the “average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%–98%) healthy individuals.”
- Birth to 6 months: 30 mg a day
- 7 to 12 months: 75 mg a day
- 1 to 3 years: 80 mg a day
- 9 to 13 years: 240 mg a day
- Male 14 – 18 years: 410 mg a day
- Female 14 – 18 years: 360 mg a day
- Pregnant Female 14 to 18 years: 400 mg a day
- Male 19 to 30 years: 400 mg a day
- Female 19 to 30 years: 310 mg a day
- Pregnant Female 19 to 30 years: 350 mg a day
- Male 31 to 50 years: 420 mg a day
- Female 31 to 50 years: 320 mg a day
- Pregnant Female 31 to 50 years: 360 mg a day
- Male over 51 years: 420 mg a day
- Female over 51 years: 320 mg a day
If you go over this recommended daily allowance through food sources, your kidneys should be able to adequately get rid of the excess through your urine.
But when it comes to supplements, it works a bit differently.
Anyone from the ages of 9 and up – male and female, pregnant or not pregnant – should not exceed more than 350 mg of magnesium supplements each day. Children from 1 to 3 years should not exceed 65 mg and children between the ages of 4 and 8 should not exceed 110 mg.
Magnesium For You
If you think you may have a magnesium deficiency, you probably want to start with higher dose magnesium supplements and a boost in magnesium-rich food.
But if you simply want an extra “chill pill” so to speak, that allows you to fall into sleep more easily, taking a small amount of magnesium within an overall all-natural sleep aid can be a fabulous choice.