Over 70 million Americans suffer from insomnia or poor sleep quality. If you’re one of them, the key to improving your sleep wellness might be magnesium.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps the body perform vital activities in the brain, heart, muscles, and digestive system. It aids in over 600 cellular functions—yet studies show that 50% of Americans don’t consume enough Magnesium.
So what does magnesium have to do with sleep? Research shows that magnesium helps to regulate neurotransmitters, or the chemical messengers, in your brain. Magnesium may also help with better sleep through its interaction with your nervous system. Magnesium can also play a large role in relaxation, helping to reach a deeper level of quality sleep.
Who Should Take Magnesium?
The short answer: all of us can benefit from improving our sleep quality and Magnesium can help. Sleep and Magnesium both play critical roles in how our bodies function, and, therefore, how we feel.
The most accurate way to tell if you’re Magnesium deficient is by taking a blood test at your doctor’s office. Symptoms of Magnesium deficiency include appetite loss, nausea, fatigue, and muscle spasms. Talk to your doctor about testing your levels if you’re experiencing these symptoms.Additionally, if you suffer from chronic insomnia, or insomnia that has lasted longer than a month, Magnesium might be the right treatment for you. Long-lasting insomnia could indicate that your body is not absorbing enough Magnesium in your diet to regulate sleep and rest properly.
Benefits of Taking Magnesium Before Bed
Science has shown the benefits of taking Magnesium before bed can help you fall asleep faster, sleep more efficiently, and wake up more refreshed.
A study found that participants who consumed 500 mg of Magnesium daily reported reduced insomnia, increased sleep quality, and improved early morning restfulness.
The full extent to which Magnesium benefits sleep is still being studied, but so far, we know this mineral can help improve sleep and restfulness by:
- Relaxing your muscles
- Calming your nervous system
- Improving your sleep quality
- Helping you fall asleep faster
- Decreasing stress
- Promoting natural melatonin production
How Magnesium Works to Aid Sleep
Magnesium can help regulate neurotransmitters (the chemical messengers) in the brain that activate calming mechanisms in both the nervous system and muscles.
Let’s take a look at how this works:
- Magnesium balances neurotransmitters – GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the primary neurotransmitter in the brain that brings you down from an excited or stressed state to a calm and relaxed one. Magnesium helps regulate natural levels of GABA, as well as the regulation of the “excitable” neurotransmitter, glutamate, to help you feel calm before bed and more awake during the day.
- Magnesium regulates the nervous system – Your nervous system is divided into two parts: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic part activates the brain, while the parasympathetic helps you wind down, especially in times of stress. Magnesium regulates both of these parts of the nervous system, which can help ease a racing mind or tense muscles before falling asleep.
- Magnesium promotes melatonin production – Melatonin is a hormone your body produces to help you fall asleep and regulate your sleep cycle. Sometimes, environmental factors or health issues inhibit natural melatonin production, which can cause insomnia or poor sleep quality. Magnesium encourages your body to regulate melatonin levels, which can further aid in falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer.
What Is the Best Magnesium Type for Sleep?
Not all Magnesium is created equal. There are different variations of the mineral, each with slightly different benefits and potential for bodily absorption. The types of Magnesium include:
- Magnesium Citrate
- Magnesium Glycinate
- Magnesium Gluconate
- Magnesium Chloride
- Magnesium Lactate
- Magnesium Malate
- Magnesium Taurate
- Magnesium Sulfate
- Magnesium Oxide
To get the sleep benefits the best types to consume are Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Gluconate. Both are highly bioavailable, meaning the body can absorb them relatively easily compared to other forms of Magnesium.
A supplement that combines Gylcinate and Gluconate with a Magnesium Citrate, can also help regulate your digestive system. Taken before bed, citrate can help make your mornings even smoother.
Our Magnesi-Om drink powder has not one, but three forms of bioavailable Magnesium to help with muscles, brain, and bowels. It also contains L-theanine to naturally support a deeper state of relaxation and healthy cognition.
Magnesium Dosage for Sleep
Magnesium can be found in a number of different foods, so most of us are consuming some Magnesium in our diets naturally. Foods like squash, almonds, avocado, leafy greens, nuts, and beans are all high in Magnesium and can help you reach your recommended daily dose. However, because of the nutrient depletion in today’s soil, even those who consume a well-rounded diet may be deficient in Magnesium.
The recommended dosage for Magnesium for men is 400–420 mg. For women, the recommended daily amount is 310–320 mg and pregnant women should consume a bit more, 350–360 mg per day.
Potential Side Effects of Magnesium
As Magnesium is a natural mineral, the risk of side effects is relatively low. However, as with any supplement, there are some potential risks if you take more than the recommended daily dose.
One of the most common side effects of taking too much Magnesium is diarrhea. As we discussed, Magnesium Citrate helps regulate bowel movements, so high dosages function as a laxative.
If Magnesium is consumed in levels above the daily recommended dose, it can cause more severe side effects such as:
- Irregular heartbeat – If the Magnesium overdose is more severe, like 5,000 mg or more, it can cause hypermagnesemia, or an excess amount of Magnesium in the bloodstream. Hypermagnesemia can cause disturbances in natural heart rhythm and cardiac regularity.
- Impaired kidney function – In doses of 5,000 mg or more and in people with existing kidney problems, the risk of impaired kidney function is higher. High levels of Magnesium deflate blood pressure, which can lead to improper blood flow to the kidneys.
Avoid more severe side effects by sticking to the daily recommended dose of Magnesium and talking to your doctor about how much supplemental Magnesium is right for you.
Magnesium vs Melatonin
One of the rising debates in the natural health space is the difference between taking Magnesium and Melatonin for sleep. Both substances are naturally occurring, but they are not the same. Here’s how they compare:
Magnesium is a mineral, Melatonin is a hormone. The body produces Melatonin at certain times, usually at night, when there is less natural light and your circadian rhythm kicks in to tell your body that it’s time for bed. The body only produces Melatonin for sleep function, whereas Magnesium aids in a variety of the body’s daily and nightly functions.
Magnesium is essential for proper brain, nervous system, digestive, and muscular function. The fact that it helps to regulate these vital systems is part of what allows it to aid in proper sleep and restfulness.
In short, the defining characteristics of Magnesium are:
- Magnesium is a nutrient that regulates bodily functions
- Magnesium is primarily gained through food
- Magnesium supplements can help your mind and body relax and promote better sleep
And, the main features of Melatonin include:
- Melatonin is a hormone that helps your body sleep
- Melatonin is produced by the brain in response to your circadian rhythm
- Melatonin supplements can help you fall asleep faster by regulating your sleep cycle
If you’re looking for a natural sleep aid that can also benefit other parts of your health and wellbeing, Magnesium is it.
A New Bedtime Routine to Improve Your Sleep Wellness
Ready to update your bedtime routine? Try taking Magnesium one to two hours before your head hits the pillow.
Magnesium is a powerful nutrient that can promote better sleep, relax you day or night, and provide essential functionality to the entire body. Adding a proper amount of Magnesium to your daily intake may help to turn sleepless nights into natural, meditative calm.
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