The human body is an amazingly complex biochemical machine. This becomes particularly apparent when something starts to not work right.
For example, maybe you have been feeling more stress and anxiety lately. This stress and anxiety has started to affect how well you sleep. The less sleep you get, the more stressed out and anxious you feel. What could be causing this?
Sometimes the last place you might think to look is actually the right place to look! Many people do not know that magnesium deficiency can be linked to higher stress and anxiety and poor sleep quality.
In this article, learn more about what magnesium is, what it does, and how magnesium for sleep can help ease stress and anxiety and give you a better rest at night.
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a trace mineral that is naturally-occurring both on the planet and in the human body. Magnesium is one of the most important trace minerals to safeguard your body’s healthy function.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, adult females need 310 to 320 mg of magnesium per day and adult males need 400 to 420 mg per day.
However, you should always talk with your healthcare practitioner to find out exactly how much magnesium you should be taking in per day for your age, status (pregnant or not pregnant), gender and overall health. This is especially true if you are taking any medications or recovering from any health conditions that can impact your body’s natural magnesium levels.
What Does Magnesium Do for the Body?
More than 300 critical enzymes found in the body rely on magnesium to do their jobs well!
Some of the jobs these magnesium-dependent enzymes do include contracting your muscles, producing energy and protein and helping you de-stress and sleep.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), magnesium also plays a role in blood pressure, protein production, nerve function and control over blood glucose levels.
Magnesium contributes to the formation of healthy bones and muscles and even helps to regulate your heartbeat! Suffice it to say that if you are not taking in sufficient daily quantities of magnesium, nearly every system in your body can eventually begin to malfunction.
How Does Magnesium Deficiency Affect You?
Magnesium deficiency can cause a range of worrisome health symptoms.
Healthline outlines some of the most common symptoms of a developing magnesium deficiency: fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle twitches and cramps, apathy, depression, anxiety, the onset of bone weakness associated with osteoporosis, high blood pressure, asthma, and irregular heartbeat.
Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, numbness, coronary spasms, personality changes and the onset of certain serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and migraine headaches are cited by the NIH as additional symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
Healthline suggests that up to three-quarters of the American population is routinely deficient in magnesium intake. Your doctor can do a blood test to evaluate the level of your magnesium deficiency.
How Can Magnesium Be Important For Your Sleep?
As Psychology Today points out, magnesium is one of the 24 most important nutrients for your body! It is also one of the top seven macro-nutrients your body needs to function optimally.
There are several ways that magnesium deficiency can impact the quality of your nightly rest.
Stress and anxiety
One of the most problematic issues for getting high-quality sleep is high levels of stress and anxiety. In other words, it is hard to fall asleep if you feel very anxious or stressed out!
Magnesium plays a part in regulating GABA, a neurotransmitter that is made in the brain. Low levels of GABA have been linked to chronic pain, depression, anxiety and even epilepsy. GABA imbalance has also been implicated in panic disorder and sleep disturbances, according to health expert Dr. Josh Axe.
Digestion and gut health
Magnesium deficiency is associated with digestive disturbance and gut function. Interestingly, research shows that magnesium deficiency can change the gut flora to a degree that you may begin to experience symptoms of depression.
Depression and mood
Magnesium deficiency can be a contributing factor to depression. Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to improve depression symptoms within one to two weeks according to recent research.
Muscle cramps, aches, and pains
Modern medicine has established the link between muscle cramps, spasms, twitches and weakness and magnesium deficiency. Research also shows a link between magnesium deficiency and chronic “mystery” health conditions like restless leg syndrome, which can cause ongoing insomnia in patients.
Each of these magnesium deficiency-associated health conditions is enough on its own to cause sleep disturbances. When taken together, it is much easier to understand how magnesium deficiency may contribute to chronic restless sleep or insomnia!
What is The Dosage of Magnesium for Sleep?
Before taking any type of magnesium supplement for sleep, it is always a smart choice to talk with your doctor! This is especially true if you are currently taking any medication which may interact with magnesium or for which magnesium supplements may be contraindicated. A quick check with your doctor can help you decide if now is the right time to take magnesium supplements to help you enjoy better sleep.
With your doctor’s agreement, the typical recommended starting dose for adults is anywhere from 100 to 350 mg of magnesium daily. Your doctor may also want to do a blood test to give you more individual recommendations for how much magnesium to take daily.
It can be a good idea to start out with the lowest recommended daily dosage and see how your body reacts before increasing the dosage. This will also give your body time to absorb and acclimate to increased magnesium gradually.
How to Take Magnesium for Sleep?
There are several different ways to take in additional magnesium to help promote better sleep. You don’t have to pick just one type of supplement – you can experiment to see what works best for you.
You can take in magnesium from different foods. For example, did you know that a square of dark chocolate can give you 24 percent of the daily value of magnesium?
Other magnesium-rich foods you can add to your diet include avocado, swiss chard, spinach, almonds, yogurt, kefir, bananas, black beans, figs and pumpkin seeds. Other magnesium-rich foods include potatoes, broccoli, cashews, mung beans, and brussels sprouts.
It isn’t always possible to take in as much magnesium as your body needs for better sleep through your diet. In this case, there are a number of supplements that can boost your daily magnesium intake to provide you with a more restful sleep.
Magnesium oil is actually a mixture of magnesium chloride and water. Magnesium oil has been shown to improve sleep and general calm and relaxation. You can use it in spray form, as a bath soak, topically for massage or skin care or even as a deodorant!
Transdermal magnesium, which is another form of topical magnesium supplement, is also being studied as another way to apply topical magnesium chloride to boost your magnesium levels.
There are also numerous magnesium supplements, including tablets and capsules, that you can add to your daily health-care routine. Magnesium as a supplement is offered in several forms, including magnesium chelate, magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium orotate, and magnesium threonate.
The type of magnesium supplement you choose may be a personal preference – for example, athletes often prefer magnesium chloride, while those with digestive issues may opt for magnesium citrate. When in doubt, talk with your doctor about the best form to choose.
Are There Any Side Effects from Magnesium?
Taking magnesium for sleep is generally considered safe so long as you do not take more than the recommended daily dosage. For this, you can take guidance from the supplement manufacturer’s dosing recommendations or talk with your doctor for specific directions.
At daily doses above 600 mg per day, some people report experiencing a laxative effect. Otherwise, your body will naturally excrete out any excess magnesium through your urine and it will not affect you.
What the Research Says About Magnesium for Sleep
If you are on the fence about whether to take magnesium supplements to improve the quality of your sleep, it can be helpful to read more about what research shows in testing magnesium’s impact on sleep.
The Journal of Research in Medical Sciences reported that magnesium in supplement form was able to make “statistically significant” increases in sleep time for elderly research study participants. Since 50 percent of older adults are estimated to have trouble sleeping, this study shows promise for use of magnesium to improve sleep later in life.
The Oxford Academic Journal Sleep reported that magnesium supplementation was found to be effective in helping patients with restless leg syndrome combat night time insomnia. Magnesium supplements were able to reduce the number of RLS incidents per night, contributing to better quality of sleep overall.
A comprehensive MIT report on the interaction between magnesium supplementation and fibromyalgia showed study results that indicate magnesium can reduce the chronic body pain and discomfort often associated with insomnia in fibromyalgia patients.
Vitamins and Minerals reported that magnesium supplementation provided better overall cognitive well-being, including improvements in mood and sleep and lower stress levels.
The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine studied how magnesium intake and depression are linked for affected adults. Younger adults in particular benefitted from taking magnesium supplements to improve depressive symptoms.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reported that calcium and magnesium are both essential trace minerals to support high quality sleep in adults. The studies also suggested that taking magnesium supplements may be safer than the alternative, which for many is taking sleeping pills. Sleeping pills, the study reported, can cause cumulative side effects when taken over a longer time period, whereas magnesium is generally safe to take over a longer time period.
Should You Take Magnesium for Sleep?
The decision about whether to take magnesium for sleep quality is a very personal one! In general, it is important to know that anywhere from half to three-quarters of all adults are likely deficient in magnesium.
This also coincides with reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that state as many as one in three adults worldwide do not get enough or good enough sleep.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s ongoing research shows that sleep is vital for everything from healthy brain function to emotional wellbeing, physical good health to safety on the job and on the road. Individuals who do not get consistent, sufficient, good quality sleep can experience a number of safety risks, from emotional disturbance to car crashes.
All of this data points to one fact: sleep is vital for your wellbeing! If you have been suffering from chronic sleep disturbance and other remedies you have tried have not helped you improve your quality and quantity of sleep, you may want to consider taking magnesium to help improve your sleep.
You have many options for increasing your magnesium intake daily, from changing your diet to topical preparations to supplements so you can find the right option that works best for your schedule and needs.