You may have heard the rumors about magnesium and restful sleep, and according to medical professionals, they’re true. Many doctors, nutritionists, and health experts insist that supplementing magnesium at bedtime is the safest and oftentimes most effective aid for deep sleep.
But, as experts in sleep, we’ve learned to take everything with a grain of salt. So, we’ve taken our white lab coats off the hook, sharpened our pencils, and have put magnesium under the microscope to uncover if it really does help us sleep better at night.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral and one of the seven essential macro-minerals that the human body requires in large quantities. It regulates blood pressure, cholesterol production and aids bone development; as well helping to control your body’s stress response system, and hormones that elevate or diminish stress. However, the body does not naturally produce magnesium – this is where problems can occur.
Low magnesium levels can throw many of the body’s functions off course, and raise risks for chronic health problems. It’s not uncommon for people, especially women, to have less-than-optimal magnesium levels.
How does magnesium aid sleep?
Insomnia is a common symptom of magnesium deficiency. And simply because our diets are so magnesium deficient, and we lose magnesium when we’re under stress, just about everybody is low on magnesium. Yikes!
People with low magnesium often experience restless sleep, waking frequently during the night. See, magnesium plays a role in supporting deep, restorative sleep by maintaining healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Magnesium can also help insomnia that’s linked to the sleep disorder restless-leg syndrome.
How do I take magnesium?
Magnesium does not occur naturally in the body, therefore, we have to attain it through external sources. Try adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet. Foods such as dark leafy greens, seeds, and nuts, legumes, dairy products, meat, chocolate, and coffee are all chock-full of magnesium (and yes, you did read coffee and chocolate!).
Alternatively, you can supplement. Try a magnesium supplement, you can take it by itself or with calcium just before bedtime.