Magnesium has several uses in the body, but it’s only recently that a better understanding of how magnesium helps with sleep has come about. Unfortunately, magnesium is not naturally produced by the body, so you have to get it through supplements and food.
You don’t necessarily take magnesium for sleep. Instead, you take it as a daily supplement, which has the added benefit of helping you sleep, regardless of when you take it. The recommended dose of daily magnesium is 300 to 400 milligrams.
Daily magnesium intake will provide your body with several health benefits and zero side effects, so long as you take it in the amount specified according to your age, sex, and whether or not you are pregnant.
Magnesium: Recommended Dosage
The recommended dosage of magnesium, assuming that you take it daily, is supposed to positively affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep. While there isn’t conclusive and well-understood research on how magnesium helps you sleep, doctors know there is a correlation between poor magnesium levels and lack of sleep.
Unfortunately, lack of sleep is a prevalent thing throughout society. Most people attribute it to high-stress levels, overwork, unhealthy lifestyles, etc. It’s interesting to note that sleeping problems are commonplace in America. At the same time, 48% of Americans don’t get an adequate amount of magnesium.
Is there a connection? Possibly. While scientists don’t understand the working mechanism behind magnesium’s contribution to positive sleep health, they do know that people who lack magnesium don’t get very good sleep.
Magnesium Versus Melatonin
Unlike magnesium, the body naturally produces melatonin. It’s a sleep-regulating hormone that the body produces when you are tired. So, where magnesium helps you relax, reducing muscle strain and stress, melatonin works directly on the brain at a hormonal level.
On its own, magnesium preps the body for sleep, getting you in a relaxed frame of mind, calmer, and less anxious. So if you were to get enough magnesium in your diet throughout the day, you wouldn’t have to take magnesium as a supplement.
Magnesium plays a role in both the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. It works great for things like restless leg syndrome, though it’s not the end all be all for it.
- Converts proteins into the chemicals that your body uses to go to sleep
- Calms the nervous system
- Magnesium maintains gamma-aminobutyric acid
- Helps the body elevate dopamine levels
- Improves anxiety symptoms
- Helps treat mild cases of depression
All of these things are beneficial for helping us fall asleep. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter, and magnesium promotes GABA by not allowing the body to get rid of it. GABA has an essential function in the body because it acts like a light switch, turning sleepiness on and off.
Melatonin is a hormone that the body produces on its own. When you take melatonin, you are simply elevating the amount of it in your system. Although melatonin is the primary hormone when it comes to regulating your sleep, it also has other effects.
- Helps with sleep disorders in children
- Wards off jet lag
- Reduces pre-surgery anxiety
- Helps patients deal with DSWPD (Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder)
- Helps with insomnia
- Helps regulate your body when you are going through different shift work
Seeing what melatonin does for the body, it’s easy to see how both melatonin and magnesium have the potential to be a one-two punch to sleeplessness.
What Foods Elevate Magnesium Intake?
Fortunately, there are a lot of foods you can eat that contain high levels of magnesium. While taking supplements is essential, it’s often noted that the body doesn’t absorb pills nearly as well as pulling the necessary magnesium from a magnesium-rich diet.
- Roasted Almonds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Dry Roasted Peanuts
- Whole Flaxseed
- Roasted Cashews
- Cooked Spinach
- Dark Chocolate
- Non-Fat Milk
- Cooked Quinoa
- Unfrosted Shredded Wheat
- Cooked Edamame
- Boiled Black Beans
- Cooked Lima Beans
A magnesium supplement isn’t as necessary if you are getting plenty of these in your diet each day. If you are at the point where you have a magnesium deficiency in your diet, taking a supplement is a good idea until you rearrange your diet to obtain enough magnesium.
Another problem is when people try to bust out the calculator or a sheet of notebook paper and start trying to write the amounts of magnesium in each serving of such and such. That’s boring and defeats the purpose because most people will stop doing it.
The best thing to do is maintain a diet that is rich in all of the above. There’s no need to try and break it all down into milligrams of magnesium every day.
Signs That You Aren’t Getting Enough Magnesium
You have to be careful judging that symptoms result from not getting enough magnesium. If you have any of the following symptoms and they are chronic, you need to set up an appointment with a doctor before you self-determine that it’s a magnesium deficiency:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Weakness and Fatigue
- Appetite Loss
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Crohn’s Disease
- Celiac Disease
- Chronic Levels of Diarrhea
- Cramps and Spasms in the Gut
- Numbness and Tingling Sensations
- Abnormal Heart Rhythm/Palpitations
None of these things sound very good because they aren’t and are a glaring sign that you are suffering from a lack of magnesium in your diet. But, of course, as we noted above, that may only be a small part of the problem. It indicates that you need to see a doctor help identify if it’s a magnesium deficiency or if something else is happening.
Magnesium is a necessary supplement in our daily diets; without it, you might have trouble sleeping. While it may not be the ultimate solution to your sleeping problem, it will undoubtedly balance your body so that sleep comes easier at the end of the day.
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