Magnesium deficiency, a widespread issue, poses significant risks to our well-being. As the fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies, magnesium plays a vital role in maintaining health, with key contributions to sleep, heart function, blood sugar regulation, energy production, and immune system support. While its importance spans various bodily functions, here we delve into the specific benefits of magnesium for sleep and what types of magnesium are the best to help you get a good night’s rest.
Low Magnesium Is Common In The Following Conditions
Why Are So Many People Low In Magnesium?
Diet, Stress, And Lifestyle Contribute To Magnesium Deficiency
The typical American diet is full of processed, refined foods. Refining carbohydrates removes magnesium and other essential nutrients. Refining involves removing the hull (outside portion) of a grain. This turns brown rice into white rice or whole-grain wheat into white flour.
As lives have gotten busier and people rely more on packaged and processed foods, magnesium intake declines. Gluten-free diets are notoriously low in magnesium. It is an important nutrient to address for anyone following a gluten-free diet. Wheat bran is one of the foods with the highest concentration of magnesium. When you eliminate wheat from the diet, an important source of magnesium is lost. Also, manufactured gluten-free foods are full of refined flours and sugars and void of this vital mineral.
Caffeine is a magnesium-depleting chemical, as is alcohol. We all know how well Starbucks does in this country. Caffeine consumption is high for the average American.
In any form, stress depletes magnesium levels. Combine a poor diet, caffeine intake, chronic stress, and alcohol, and you have a setup for magnesium depletion.
Signs Of Magnesium Deficiency
Anxiety, Palpitations, Muscle Spasms, High Blood Pressure Are Some Signs Of Low Magnesium
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- High blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Low Potassium or Low Calcium
- Muscle spasm, twitching
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor Sleep or Insomnia
- Personality changes
- Poor nail growth
Note: This list is not all-inclusive, and any of these signs are non-specific and may be due to things other than magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium And Sleep
Research Supports The Role Of Magnesium In Promoting Improved Sleep Quality.
Magnesium has been found to influence sleep through its impact on neurotransmitters and the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. Observational studies have shown an association between sleep quality; daytime falling asleep, sleepiness, snoring, and sleep duration. A study published in the journal “Magnesium Research” demonstrated that magnesium supplementation can enhance sleep efficiency and sleep time while reducing the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol. Additional research suggests that magnesium’s calming effect on the nervous system may contribute to its ability to alleviate insomnia symptoms. These findings underscore the importance of maintaining adequate magnesium levels for optimizing sleep patterns. However, further research is warranted to explore the specific mechanisms through which magnesium exerts its sleep-promoting effects and to determine the optimal dosage for individuals with sleep disorders.
Types Of Magnesium And Their Uses
Magnesium Supplements Can Help Sleep And Other Conditions
So many types of magnesium! If you aren’t getting enough from your diet and are considering a supplement, please consult your healthcare practitioner before starting it. The recommended daily intake depends on the type of magnesium used.
The following are the most common types of magnesium on the market and their typical uses.
Magnesium Threonate: Well absorbed by the brain, and my recommended favorite for improving sleep, lowering stress, and as an adjunctive treatment for anxiety, depression, and memory. It has a less laxative effect than other types of magnesium.
Magnesium Glycinate: Well absorbed ( less laxative effect). Because of this it is also useful for sleep as well as anxiety, stress, & lowering inflammation
Magnesium Malate: Well absorbed; so also good for sleep and increasing low magnesium levels. Also used for fibromyalgia
Magnesium Citrate: Constipation as it is typically not well absorbed. Some people also use it to calm anxiety, but at higher doses, it can cause diarrhea.
Magnesium Taurine: High blood pressure
Magnesium Oxide: Migraines, heartburn, indigestion, constipation, SIBO
Magnesium Orotate: Beneficial effects on the heart, used by competitive athletes and people with heart disease.
Always consult your doctor first before starting any of these supplements. Magnesium is contraindicated in certain situations.
How Much Magnesium Should Someone Take?
The recommended daily intake of magnesium varies based on age, sex, and overall health. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is as follows:
- Adult males (19-30 years): 400 mg per day
- Adult males (31 years and older): 420 mg per day
- Adult females (19-30 years): 310 mg per day
- Adult females (31 years and older): 320 mg per day
Individual needs differ, and certain conditions or medications may affect magnesium absorption or increase the need for supplementation. Before starting any magnesium supplements, please consult with a healthcare practitioner. If someone is considering magnesium supplementation for specific health concerns, it’s crucial to discuss it with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage and form of magnesium that best suits their needs. Magnesium supplements come in various forms, each with its own characteristics and dosing recommendations.
How To Increase Magnesium Naturally
Dietary Changes And Stress Reduction Can Help
To increase your food intake of magnesium.,the best food sources of magnesium are (from highest to lowest)
- pumpkin seeds
- sesame seeds
- sunflower seeds
- black and soybeans,
- Swiss chard
- brown rice
- Chinook salmon
Limit caffeine and alcohol – Both have been shown to deplete magnesium.
Decrease stress – Stress causes your body to use more magnesium. Find a stress reduction method that works for you. Even fifteen minutes a day will help. Exercise is a great stress reliever and has additional benefits, but others include reading, journaling, meditating, breathing exercises…the list goes on. Start by choosing one, and make a point to incorporate it into your daily schedule.
Testing Magnesium Levels
Blood Tests For Magnesium Are Not Reliable
Very little magnesium is stored in the blood. Most magnesium is stored in bones. Because of this, blood tests are not accurate for checking magnesium levels. Magnesium is important to maintain normal heart function. The body works very hard to maintain a constant blood level to help the heart beat regularly. This occurs at the expense of body stores, which are not easily measured. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency correlate poorly with blood levels.
Which test, if any, is used varies from practitioner to practitioner. Some examples of tests are serum magnesium, red cell magnesium, ionized magnesium, and urinary magnesium. Some practitioners treat based on symptoms only. Discuss evaluation with your practitioner if you think magnesium deficiency is affecting you.
Precautions With Magnesium
Side effects from too much magnesium are rare include diarrhea and/or stomach cramps. These side effects are dose-dependent. But, because magnesium can be dangerous for people with certain health conditions and can interact with many medications, you should consult your health care provider before taking magnesium.
The Final Verdict On Magnesium For Sleep
Magnesium deficiency is widespread, but you can improve your magnesium levels and health by following a plant-based, whole-food diet, decreasing stress, and limiting caffeine and alcohol. Besides using good sleep hygiene practices, improving magnesium levels may get you on your way to a good night’s rest. Observational research on sleep and its correlation to magnesium levels shows that improving magnesium levels may benefit sleep and overall health. Larger, randomized trials are needed to clarify the details of the association. Discuss it with your healthcare practitioner soon if you want to try magnesium to improve your sleep. It may make a world of difference in the way you feel!