Do Magnesium Supplements Relieve Insomnia?
Written by Eli Ben-YehudaOn January 6, 2021
Each night millions of people in the U.S. struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. For some, this is only a brief problem. But for others, insomnia can become a severe, ongoing struggle. In this article, we will talk about insomnia, Magnesium, and the benefits of
How common is insomnia among adults? Here are the numbers:
- 30 to 35% have brief symptoms of insomnia
- 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, which lasts less than three months.
- 10% have a chronic insomnia disorder, which occurs at least three times per week for at least three months.
Chronic insomnia can have a negative impact on your health, increasing your risk of depression and high blood pressure. It also can lower your quality of life. Common symptoms of insomnia include:
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Poor memory
- Mood disturbance
- Daytime sleepiness
- Low motivation or energy
- Increased errors or accidents
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Insomnia also can keep you from performing your best at school or work. One study estimated that an employee with insomnia loses about eight days of work performance each year. For the entire U.S. workforce, this adds up to an estimated $63 billion in lost work performance due to insomnia each year.
How Magnesium Helps The Body
Magnesium helps regulate hundreds of body systems, including blood pressure, blood sugar muscle nerve function, and sleep systems. We need magnesium to help blood vessels relax, and for energy production, bone development, and transporting calcium and potassium.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that most older adults in the U.S. don’t get the proper amount of magnesium in their diets, although extreme magnesium deficiency is very rare. It’s best to get the mineral from food, especially dark, leafy green vegetables, unrefined grains, and legumes. The RDA of magnesium is 420 milligrams (mg) per day for men ages 50 and older; 320 mg/day for women ages 50 and older.
Too much magnesium from a supplement or from magnesium-containing drugs such as laxatives may cause diarrhea. There are no known adverse effects of magnesium intake from food.
Magnesium and Insomnia
Magnesium is well known for its ability to relieve insomnia. One study found that it helps decrease cortisol, the “stress hormone” that can keep you up at night. It also helps muscles relax, to give you that calm “sleepy” feeling and help you unwind after a long day. On top of helping you get a good night of sleep, it also shows potential as a therapy for depression and other mood disorders.
While most people find magnesium to be calming, others discover that it makes them feel more alert, and even uncomfortably wired. The reasons why this happens (and why it happens only in some people) aren’t clear, but one study showing the stimulant effects of magnesium in mice suggested the effect of magnesium on important neurotransmitters as a possible cause.
If this is you, a magnesium supplement in the morning would be a better choice to reduce any micronutrient deficiencies without interrupting a restful night of sleep. And if the magnesium is causing extreme mood or insomnia problems, it’s best to stop taking it. After all, even a supplement that’s great in theory won’t help you if it makes you miserable in practice.
Natural Sources of Magnesium
Not exactly a staple in U.S. kitchens, but it should be, as it’s the king of sea veggies, and delivers 780 mg of Mg—no other food source comes close to that. You can replace beef or chicken stocks with kelp stock (made by adding a 5″ strip of kelp per quart of liquid) in 10 minutes. Once cooked, you can cut up the strips and place them in the soup. I’ve had great success with Maine Sea Coast Vegetables.
I have always enjoyed adding wheat germ to my salads, soups, and smoothies. It wasn’t until recently that I realized what an intense source of magnesium it is, providing 440 mg. In a cereal form, the amount drops to 420 mg, but that’s a full day’s supply for an adult male (and 100 mg more than an adult woman needs).
This amazingly versatile fruit seed contains 229 mg of magnesium per serving. You can cook it and eat it as you would grits or porridge, you can add it to soups, or even make pancakes with it (which lowers its Mg level to about 25 mg). It’s gluten free and doesn’t lead to extreme spikes in blood sugar the way grains can.
Delicious, easy to prepare, and nutritious—what more could we ask for? A cup of raw chickpeas delivers more than 230 mg of magnesium. Prepare them and blend the beans with some lemon juice and olive oil and you’ve got a great stress-busting hummus.
Spinach: I love my spinach. Whether it’s raw, creamed, cooked, slipped into eggs, in soups, or dozens of other dishes. While not high in Mg, its 88 mg is nutrient rich and delivers a great way to ease the stress of the day. Fresh is best, organically grown is even better. But frozen also do the trick.
Almonds and Cashews:
These nuts are amazing at calming us down. A half-cup serving delivers 135 mg of magnesium! Almonds and cashews are a wonderful way (when organic and raw) to enrich a salad, create a surprising omelet, or enrich a sauce. And let’s face it, they’re great to snack on—again, organic is best. Whole Foods sells a blend of three Mg-rich nuts: almonds, cashews, and pistachios.
Until I discovered its importance as a source of magnesium-rich nutrients, I questioned my lifelong love of chocolate. Now that I know it delivers 420 mg per cup, I fully understand my quest. The key is dark cacao—not milk chocolate. It has been shown found a cacao content of 80% percent delivers the best percentage, you can add it to desserts, make hot cocoa, or simply treat it as a dessert at the end of a meal. Everything in moderation, but this is one food that nourishes both the body and the soul.
Let’s not forget the importance of Mg-rich water. It really is a vital part of your diet, but most people are totally unaware of the value of magnesium-rich water. It makes a huge difference in your body’s ability to refill its stores.
This is such a versatile and tasty way to enhance your need for minerals. For those who love sugar in their coffee, seek to bring some zing to their cereal, or want to infuse their treats with good wholesome nutrition, try black-strap molasses. It’s a nutritional workhorse that delivers minerals and nutrients like few other foods.
So as you can see using magnesium as a supplement can relieve insomnia. As with everything:
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.
You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.
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