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Magnesium & Sleep

1 March 2013 - Posted by Ashley under ,

Using Magnesium for a Better Night's Sleep #insomnia #supplement #nutrition | by Ancient Minerals Our favorite mineral is a regular wizard when it comes to relaxing the body and helping minimize our response to stressful stimuli. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that this wonder nutrient also has a phenomenal impact on sleep function and quality.

When it comes to getting sufficient amounts of undisturbed, quality sleep, we often don’t consider just how crucial this is for overall health and well-being – the focus often being placed instead on diet and exercise. It’s certainly not new or shocking that a lack of sleep can lead to any number of mental health issues and even death, but sleep research over the last decade has been uncovering deeper connections to illness and disease than we’ve suspected in the past… although perhaps we should have. Our brain is yet still quite an enigma in the grand scheme of things, but one thing is for sure, it’s ultimately in the drivers seat of our biological processes. Lack of sleep equates to neglect… neglect of the most important organ in your body.

Can’t Sleep? Call Dr. Magnesium

One of the many benefits attributed to magnesium use is improved sleep – whether it be simply helping you stay asleep longer, fall asleep faster, or battle reoccurring bouts of insomnia. However we still receive the occasional request for reassurance, “Will using topical magnesium help me sleep?” Not wishing to exaggerate and create unreasonable expectations, I can still say, “Yes, magnesium will help you sleep.” That’s not to say, though, that it will completely ‘heal’ whatever may be the underlying cause of your sleep issues – but its necessity for a good night’s sleep is so critical that it will most definitely provide a degree of assistance.

Many of our customers who originally sought out the magnesium strictly for supplementation purposes, have found themselves on the receiving end of a sudden boost in sleep quality. We know this because of their spontaneous and, might I say, enthusiastic feedback detailing their surprise at this “side benefit.” Anecdotal, yes, but certainly no less applicable or genuine.

So, how exactly does magnesium help?

Although we’ve praised magnesium as an unending well of energy whose “zing” is far longer lasting than a cup of Joe, that same well of energy is responsible for helping the body transition into a restful state. Much like a parent will start preparing their child for bedtime by having a bath followed by slipping them into their pajamas and then reading them a story, magnesium also helps trigger a sequence of events that begin a “wind down” of sorts in preparation for the coming hours of rejuvenating sleep.

As has been mentioned in other articles, magnesium has its hand in virtually every nook and cranny when it comes to your body’s biological functions. In the case of sleep, it’s the primary ingredient in muscle relaxation, has a neuroprotective effect that is absolutely crucial to each and every stage of sleep, assists in slowing metabolic processes and lowering brain temperature as your body attempts to repair daily damage during sleep cycles, and helps regulate key hormones responsible for not only helping you fall asleep, but keeping you asleep.

Needless to say, magnesium has its hands full.

Consequences of Magnesium Deficiency

Unfortunately, since the overwhelming majority of our population is indeed deficient in magnesium, it’s almost easier to explain what happens without magnesium rather than with it. With insufficient amounts of magnesium available to carry out these function, many of these processes become chaotic and fall apart leaving you scratching your head and wondering why you can’t fall asleep, or why you’re waking up repeatedly… or even why you feel like you didn’t sleep at all when you know you’ve been out for a full eight hours.

I’m sure we’ve all had the “why on earth am I so tired” moment. (I know I have)

Studies have shown that without the neuroprotective actions of magnesium, sleep stages lose their harmonic order, becoming erratic and unpredictable in their occurrence. They’re called “stages” for a reason, and any deviation from their position in the sleep cycle can spell disaster. On top of that chaos, when that nerve-calming protection is absent, you instead have neuronal excitability and increased periods of wakefulness are most commonly the result.

Another unfortunate consequence of a magnesium deficient state is the impaired biosynthesis and regulation of hormones such as melatonin. As melatonin is a fundamental sleep hormone, we don’t need Google Maps to jump from point A to point B to see how this might throw a wrench into any plans of beauty sleep. Needless to say, sufficient levels of magnesium are required to stimulate melatonin synthesis or else your sleep quality plummets. A.k.a: do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

There are, of course, other factors to consider such as aging. As we age, the production of certain hormones like melatonin see a steady decline bringing an additional complication to the mix. However, maintaining satisfactory levels of magnesium has been shown to reduce the severity of this decline, and in some cases help it level out or rise. In post menopausal women, who have a higher incidence of deteriorating sleep quality, research has shown that by supplementing with magnesium not only were many menopausal symptoms reduced or alleviated, but quality of sleep was markedly improved as well.

Indirect Benefits of Magnesium for Sleep

There are numerous health issues that indirectly result in poor sleep that magnesium has been shown to help alleviate. One of such issues, for example, is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).

We’ll coast over the details of magnesium’s function in aiding these disorders, since this article is specifically about magnesium as it pertains to sleep. Let’s suffice it to say that on top of RLS, the list of issues is quite lengthy (See: 101 Uses for Magnesium), including sleep apnea, asthma, periodic limb movement during sleep, hot flashes (which, of course, can be listed under the menopause symptoms), leg cramps, migraine, and even digestive issues.

As I intimated earlier, it really depends on what specifically is causing your lack of satisfactory sleep that will determine how significantly magnesium will impact it. However, it is my [educated] belief that since magnesium is a core nutrient… a foundational nutrient… that many of these issues are ultimately caused by a deficiency in the first place. Just look at something like dehydration, which can lead to migraine, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, muscle cramping and even sweating! When your body is deprived of something so very vital (like water), the deficit will literally be felt system-wide.

Want to know more about magnesium and its role in sleep? Comment below or contact us via email!

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  • Shel

    You mentioned topical Magnesium to help with sleep.  Please suggest where and how much.
    Shel  swglina@gmail.com

  • Sallyathome38

    Can magnesium supplements cause the heart to beat faster?

  • Ashley

    As a general rule, magnesium is used to slow heart rate. In fact, magnesium deficiency is often at the root of a rapid or irregular heart rate (if there is not a congenital disorder).

    However, anecdotally, there have been a few mentions of specific compounds of magnesium that have been “linked” to tachycardia in certain ailments… but even then, these mentions were by people that were taking it #1 with other medications & supplements that could have been at fault, #2 in large doses, and #3 only using oral magnesium.

    For this reason, I can’t just generally say “magnesium can cause increased heart rate” since that isn’t necessarily true.

    There is another answer, though, which should be considered. Magnesium helps facilitate detoxification in the body (movement across the cell wall). When a person is moderately to severely deficient in magnesium, that means that the body is unable to efficiently detoxify itself, and instead these toxins become stored/bio-accumulated.

    Once you provide the magnesium your body requires, many of these toxins will [should] begin to make their way into your active system. Detoxification can result in any number of symptoms including dizziness, increased heart rate, nausea, headache, cold/hot sweats, fatigue, insomnia…etc. In this case, no, magnesium was not the cause but merely the catalyst. Once magnesium levels are brought up to satisfactory levels, or the body reaches a sort of stasis, this reaction will not take place.

  • Steve Riley

    As a poor sleeper going to try this course of action

  • Ashley

    That’s great, Steve! Pop back in and let us know if your sleep has improved.

  • Vince

    I have been supplementing with zinc and have come across a study saying it hurts magnesium absorption. Have your clients noticed similar issues if hey were taking Mg and Zn at the same time. I has thinking of taking them on alternative days to see if that makes a difference.

  • Kate

    I tried lots of sleep aids, but magnesium was the only one that worked consistently! So glad I discovered it

  • Growing_in_Grace

    Will magnesium help with restless leg syndrome and insomnia? I deal with chronic muscle pain and have had difficulty sleeping for at least 20 years. I would like to try topical magnesium, but would need to know how much to use. Thanks in advance for your help.

  • Ashley

    Hi there!

    There are numerous studies that indicate that magnesium is beneficial for those with restless leg syndrome as well as insomnia. Here are just a few:
    http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/9703590/reload=0;jsessionid=zGkts0grZQYxuoyCqntk.2

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21226679

    http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1988/pdf/1988-v03n04-p197.pdf (Magnesium deficiency & insomnia)

    In regards to how much to use, the amounts are going to vary from person to person. There is no “one size fits all” unfortunately, as everyone will have varying degrees of deficiency and personal preference.

    Take a look at our post on “How Much Magnesium Do I Need?” http://www.ancient-minerals.com/blog-post/how-much-magnesium/

    Also, have you read about our Goodnight lotion?
    http://www.ancient-minerals.com/blog-post/magnesium-melatonin-msm-sleep/

    If you are still unsure, please feel free to comment, email or call us directly and we would be more than happy to assist you further. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

  • http://www.mizzyani.com asmarani bakar

    This is a very good info. I have been taking Calcium with Magnesium all this while and did not know that it help me sleep better at night. Thank you.

  • Ashley

    Hello Asmarani,

    You’re very welcome, and we’re very glad that you are sleeping better! Please let us know if you have any questions or anything that we may assist you with.

    Have a wonderful day!

  • isabel denholm meyer

    Amazing site. Med. profs. need to do more large research projects to back up.