The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 35.2 percent of adults get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night. Problems sleeping can impact your energy level, your ability to focus, how well your immune system functions, and many other aspects of your health. Studies suggest that magnesium supplements could potentially help address your symptoms of insomnia so that you can reap the many benefits of consistent, restful sleep. Read on to learn more about taking magnesium for sleep.
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral, a nutrient that your body needs to function at its best but cannot manufacture on its own. Nuts, whole grains, fish, leafy greens, avocados, and legumes are some of the best sources of magnesium. Many people struggle to eat enough magnesium-rich foods on their own and take supplements to reduce their risk of deficiency.
Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
Adolescents and adults over the age of 70 are most likely to become deficient in magnesium. In addition, those who abuse alcohol suffer from gastrointestinal disorders like celiac disease and Crohn's disease, and individuals with type 2 diabetes are also at an increased risk for deficiency. Most often, there are no noticeable symptoms of a low magnesium level. The only way to determine if you have a slight deficiency is through bloodwork. A severely low magnesium level can lead to loss of appetite, muscle spasms, nausea, vomiting, and changes in mood.
What Does Magnesium Do in the Body?
Your body needs magnesium to perform more than 300 functions that are vital to your health and well-being. It is required to convert calories into energy and to produce bone, DNA, and RNA. In addition, magnesium plays a role in muscle contraction, helps regulate your heartbeat, and assists with transmitting nervous system messages to and from the brain.
Relaxing and Calming Effects of Magnesium
People take magnesium for sleep and anxiety because the mineral may have a relaxing effect on the body due to its role in both nerve signaling and muscle contraction. Many studies have sought to answer the question, "is magnesium calming?" One study found that the calming effects of magnesium helped older adults with insomnia fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep for longer. Another look into the potential calming effect of magnesium concluded that taking magnesium supplements may be safer than using sleeping pills to treat insomnia.
Does Magnesium Relax Muscles?
Magnesium is responsible for triggering the release of muscle contractions. As a result, many experts believe magnesium has potential benefits as a muscle relaxant. They speculate that taking a supplement to promote normal magnesium levels may ensure that the body has enough of the mineral to support healthy muscle function. One study showed that magnesium reduced symptoms of restless leg syndrome that interfered with sleep. There is also evidence to suggest that magnesium may reduce muscle pain in individuals with fibromyalgia, allowing them to rest more easily.
Other Magnesium Benefits for Sleep
Some of the other potential benefits of magnesium may also positively impact sleep. Because there is a scientific link between magnesium deficiency and mood swings, some experts believe that supplements may help to improve mood. Taking magnesium for mood could help to reduce overall stress to improve sleep. Magnesium has also been shown to address digestive symptoms that could disrupt sleep. Those who use magnesium for anxiety may also experience better sleep due to a possible reduction in symptoms.
Types of Magnesium
There are many different types of magnesium supplements available today, including:
- Magnesium oxide
- Magnesium sulfate
- Magnesium aspartate
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium lactate
- Magnesium glycinate
- Magnesium chloride
Magnesium citrate is the type typically recommended for digestive concerns. Some studies have indicated that magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate may be more difficult for the body to digest, absorb and utilize than other types of magnesium.
Forms of Magnesium Supplements
Manufacturers of dietary supplements offer the different types of magnesium in various forms, including:
Powder and liquid supplements are often recommended because they may be easier for the body to absorb than other magnesium supplements, this is due to the breaking-process being easier in power or liquid.
How Much Magnesium for Sleep?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium for men 31 years of age and older is 420 milligrams per day. For women, the RDA is 320 milligrams. Depending on what foods you eat, medications you take, and your health condition, you may require more or less than the RDA. In addition to advising you on the best form of magnesium for muscle relaxation, sleep, and relaxation, your medical provider can recommend the proper dosage for you. Keep in mind that unless your doctor suggests a different magnesium dosage, you should always follow the dosing instructions printed on the supplement packaging.
Before taking a magnesium supplement, you should consult your medical provider. They can discuss your concerns and then recommend any specific doses for sleep and relaxation.