The human body is an incredibly complex biochemical machine. This becomes very evident the moment something begins to fail in our body. For example, maybe you've been feeling more stress and anxiety lately. This stress and anxiety may have started to affect your quality of sleep. And the less you sleep, the more stressed and anxious you will feel, creating a vicious cycle. What could be causing this? There can be several causes, but did you know that taking magnesium can be the solution to your insomnia problems?
Sometimes the last place you would think of may actually be the right place to look. Many people do not know that magnesium deficiency can be related to a higher level of stress and anxiety and a poor quality of sleep.
In this article, you will learn more about what magnesium is, what it does, and how it works to relieve stress and anxiety and give you a better night's rest.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is a trace mineral that occurs naturally in many things on the planet and in the human body. Magnesium is one of the most important trace minerals for maintaining healthy body function.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, adult women need 310 to 320 mg of magnesium per day and adult men need 400 to 420 mg per day.
However, it's always a good idea to talk to your healthcare professional to find out exactly how much magnesium to take per day based on your age, status (pregnant or not), gender, and general health.
This is even more important if you are taking any medications or are recovering from any health condition that may affect the natural levels of magnesium in your body.
Why should you take magnesium?
Taking magnesium is a must, no more than 300 important enzymes found in the body depend on magnesium to do their job well.
Some of the jobs these magnesium-dependent enzymes do include contracting muscles, producing energy and protein, and helping your de-stress and sleep.
According to the National Institute of Health in the United States, 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 regulate the heartbeat. It goes without saying that if you don't take in enough daily amounts of magnesium, almost every system in your body can begin to fail.
What impact does magnesium deficiency have?
Magnesium deficiency can cause a variety of serious health symptoms.
The most common symptoms of a developing magnesium deficiency are: fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle spasms and cramps, listlessness, depression, anxiety, onset of bone weakness associated with osteoporosis, high blood pressure, asthma, and irregular heartbeats.
The National Institute of Health also mentions loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, numbness, coronary spasms, personality changes, and the onset of certain serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and migraines.
How important is magnesium to your sleep health?
Magnesium is one of the 24 most important nutrients for your body. It is also one of the seven main macronutrients your body needs to function optimally.
There are a number of ways magnesium deficiency can affect the quality of your night's rest.
Stress and anxiety
One of the most annoying problems when it comes to getting quality sleep is high levels of stress and anxiety. In other words, it is difficult to fall asleep if you feel very anxious or stressed.
Magnesium plays a role in the regulation of GABA, a neurotransmitter that is produced in the brain. Low GABA levels are linked to chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and even epilepsy.
GABA imbalance has also been linked to panic disorder and sleep disorders.
Take magnesium for better digestion and intestinal health
Magnesium deficiency can also cause digestive disorders and poor bowel function. Interestingly, research showed that magnesium deficiency can change your gut flora to a degree that you can start to experience symptoms of depression.
Depression and mood
Magnesium deficiency can be a contributing factor to depression. Supplementing magnesium has been shown to improve symptoms of depression in one to two weeks according to recent research.
Muscle cramps, aches and pains
Modern medicine has succeeded in establishing a link between muscle cramps, spasms, and weakness, with magnesium deficiency.
Research has also shown a connection between magnesium deficiency and "mysterious" chronic health conditions like restless legs syndrome, which can cause ongoing insomnia in affected people.
Each of these health conditions associated with magnesium deficiency are problematic enough on their own in the development of sleep disorders.
When they are all put together at the same time, it is much easier to understand how magnesium deficiency can contribute to chronic restless leg syndrome or insomnia.
What is the magnesium dose needed to sleep?
Before taking any type of magnesium supplement for sleep, it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Especially if you are currently taking any medication that can interact with magnesium or for which magnesium supplements may be contraindicated.
A quick consultation with your doctor can help you decide if now is the right time to start taking magnesium supplements so you can enjoy better sleep.
Having received medical clearance, the typical recommended starting dose for adults is 100-350 mg of magnesium per day. Your doctor may also want to do a blood test to give you more individual recommendations on how much magnesium to take daily.
It may be a good idea to start with the lowest recommended daily dose and see how your body reacts before increasing the dose. This will also give your body time to gradually absorb and get used to the increased magnesium.
How do you have to take magnesium to be able to sleep?
There are several different ways to take magnesium in order to promote better sleep. You don't have to choose just one type of supplement for this - you can experiment to see what works best for you.
Diet with foods rich in magnesium
You can ingest magnesium through different foods. For example, did you know that a square of dark chocolate can give you 24 percent of the daily value for magnesium?
Other foods rich in magnesium that you can add to your diet include avocado, chard, spinach, almonds, yogurt, kefir, bananas, black beans, figs, and pumpkin seeds.
It is not always possible to receive all the magnesium your body needs to sleep better through your diet. In this case, there are a number of supplements that can increase your daily magnesium intake and thus allow you to have a more restful sleep.
Magnesium oil is a mixture of magnesium chloride and water. Magnesium oil has been shown to improve sleep and promote general calm and relaxation. You can use it as a spray, and apply it topically by massaging or as a skincare product, or even as a deodorant!
Transdermal magnesium, which is another form of topical magnesium supplement, is also being tested in several studies, as another way to apply topical magnesium chloride to increase 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 can be by personal preference; for example, athletes often prefer magnesium chloride, while those with digestive problems may opt for magnesium citrate. When in doubt, talk to your doctor about what might be the best option for you.
Does magnesium have any side effects?
Taking magnesium to sleep is generally considered safe as long as you don't take more than the recommended daily dose. For this, you can follow the supplement manufacturer's dosage recommendations or speak with your doctor for specific instructions.
If daily doses greater than 600 mg per day are ingested, some people report experiencing a laxative effect. Otherwise, your body will just naturally excrete the excess magnesium through your urine and it will not affect you in any way.
What does the research say about taking magnesium to sleep?
If you're unsure about taking magnesium to improve the quality of your sleep, it may be helpful to read more about what various research has shown when evaluating the impact of magnesium on sleep.
The Journal of Research in Medical Sciences reported that magnesium in supplemental form was able to make "statistically significant" increases in sleep time for elderly study participants.
Given that an estimated 50 percent of older adults have trouble sleeping, this study found that magnesium use may be vital for improving sleep later in life.
The Oxford Academic Journal Sleep reported that it found magnesium supplementation to be effective in helping restless leg syndrome patients combat nocturnal insomnia.
Magnesium supplements were able to reduce the amount of incidence of the syndrome at night, which contributed to an overall better quality of sleep.
An MIT report on the interaction between magnesium supplements and fibromyalgia showed results in their studies that magnesium can reduce the body's chronic pain and discomfort, which is 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 levels of stress.
The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine studied how magnesium levels and depression are linked in affected adults. Younger adults in particular benefited from taking magnesium to improve symptoms of depression.
Should you take magnesium to sleep?
Deciding whether to take magnesium to improve sleep quality is a very personal one. In general, it is important to know that approximately one-half to three-quarters of all adults are magnesium deficient.
This also coincides with reports from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, which indicate that one in three adults worldwide does not get enough sleep.
Still ongoing research from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's shows that good sleep is vital to virtually everything from healthy brain function to emotional well-being, good physical health, and safety at work and school. .
People who do not get constant good sleep can experience a number of health risks, from emotional upheavals to car accidents.
All these data point to one fact: sleep is vital to your well-being. If you have suffered from chronic sleep disorders and other remedies that you have tried have not helped you improve your quality and quantity of sleep, you may consider taking magnesium to improve your sleep once and for all.
You have many options to increase your daily magnesium intake, from changing your diet, topical preparations or a variety of supplements with which you can find the right option that works best for your schedule and needs.
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