If the following is you, then you may need more magnesium for sleep:
- Trouble sleeping at night.
- Waking up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep.
- Tossing and turning, thinking of everything you need to do the next day.
- Never fully rested and alert after waking up.
- Looking for something to help you sleep, that’s not a prescription drug or over-the-counter medicine.
You’ve Tried it All
You’ve likely looked online, desperate for a solution to your sleeping problem. Or you may have visited the doctor’s office, resulting in a prescription for sleeping pills. Bad news! Did you know these highly addictive medications are meant for only a few weeks use? Besides, they do not deal with the root cause of insomnia and the side effects can be horrible. You’ve probably tried everything. A darker room, cooler temperatures, a nightly routine, cutting out caffeine, relaxation techniques, and turning off your smartphone. Yet, you continue to suffer from sleepless nights. Do any of these things consistently work?
Fortunately, there’s a little-known way to sleep better at night. It’s sure to work almost every single time and usually within twenty-four hours. While supplements like melatonin, 5-HTP and valerian root can be effective options, often there is an even more basic need.
I’m talking about magnesium, a mineral that is vital to your health. It is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions and plays a major role in the day-to-day functions of your body.1 In fact, it is the most abundant charged element in your cells and every single one of your cells need it. Magnesium strengthens your bones, keeps your heart beating, and helps convert food to energy.2
When it comes to sleep, magnesium is important because it is involved in the release of calming chemicals throughout your nervous system and brain.3 Without these chemicals, your mind will not switch off, and you will lie in bed staring at the ceiling. Of course, having enough magnesium in your body doesn’t mean you’ll quickly go into a deep sleep and stay that way. But if you don’t have enough of this mineral, then don’t count on good sleep at all. And almost everyone is deficient of magnesium. In fact, at least 50% of Americans do not get enough of it.4
How Can You Tell if You Are Deficient?
If you have difficulty going to sleep, easily wake up, or wake up before your alarm goes off, you’re probably deficient.5 If you tire easily, have headaches, chocolate cravings, eye twitches, muscle cramps, or cold hands and feet, you probably need more magnesium. However, the biggest sign that you have a magnesium deficiency is trouble with sleep.
How do you increase your levels of magnesium for sleep?
The easiest and most obvious way to get more magnesium is to supplement it. Magnesium supplements are pretty inexpensive and are also commonly present with calcium and vitamin D to improve bone health as well.
The most common form of magnesium is magnesium oxide. Although it does not absorb very well, this form of magnesium is the least expensive. Magnesium aspartate and magnesium citrate are among the more absorbable forms. You can also purchase it as a powder, which absorbs more quickly than a pill.
A 2012 study found magnesium supplementation was effective in lowering concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol.6 Cortisol is no friend to sleep. Nevertheless, insomnia sufferers who took magnesium were slept better.5
“Supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia such as ISI score, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency, early morning awakening, and likewise, insomnia objective measures such as concentration of serum renin, melatonin, and serum cortisol, in elderly people.” – Journal of Research in Medical Science7
In addition, a 2009 report called Effects of Trace Element Nutrition on Sleep Patterns in Adult Women found both calcium and magnesium taken together were effective for sleep problems.8
“A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.” – Dr. James F. Balch, M.D.9
Calcium also helps your brain create melatonin, known for its ability to help you sleep.9