Magnesium is the booming supplement to deal with poor sleep and anxiety. Sleeping aids have become the need of the hour owing to our disturbed life styles governed by social media & the need to lead an overly “so called active” though dull life. Magnesium glycinate is the more commonly used form for sleep.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium, of course, isn’t new. It’s a mineral element that we already have in our body, thanks to foods like nuts, seeds, beans & some vegetable & dairy items. It works within the cells of multiple body systems to keep muscles, nerves & other parts functioning properly. Surprisingly, as many as half of U.S. adults are deficient in this important mineral, and while this is technically true, most of us still get enough to prevent any real noticeable effects.
Significant deficiencies are much less common & they come with symptoms like fatigue, weakness & nausea. Some research however, has suggested that there could be connections between even mild deficiency of this mineral & sleep disorders.
In nature, this mineral is always found in combination with other elements. This means that there are many ways to deliver it into the body. The supplements mirror this diversity of form.
You can buy capsules (magnesium citrate), beverage additives (the lactate form), or salts, the sulfate form (aka Epsom salt) which is designed to deliver small amounts of the mineral through the skin.
Magnesium glycinate is more popular because it’s among the capsule forms that are the most bioavailable forms. A good bioavailability means that a larger amount of the mineral can be absorbed & used by the body.
How does magnesium help to fall asleep ?
Magnesium regulates the particular neurotransmitters & the sleep hormone melatonin, both of which are involved in the wake sleep cycle.
Do magnesium supplements improve mental health or sleep?
In a 2017 study about magnesium’s effect on depression in a randomized clinical trial (the gold standard for medication studies), it was found that people who took 248 mg of elemental Mg from magnesium chloride tablets each day reported improvements in feelings of depression over six weeks.
The same year, a review of 18 small studies found that people who took various Mg supplements reported improvements in experiencing symptoms of anxiety.
Here, one of the side effects was increased sleep. The mineral works as a sleep aid, particularly in the more bioavailable forms like magnesium glycinate and magnesium chloride.
Mg plays a major role in muscle contraction. Athletes will sometimes use it for treating muscle cramps. The effect of Mg on sleep could be partly due to this muscle relaxation effect.
In the first place when sleep quality appeared in Mg supplementation research, it was most often as a side effect. When Mg was given to people with migraines, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), & a few other health conditions, sleep improvements were sometimes reported but they were not formally tracked that often.
A few studies looked at Mg supplements exclusively as an insomnia treatment, but they have all been too small & targeted to specific populations only to draw a good conclusion. e.g. One study in 2012 included only elderly participants & had a small sample size of 46 people.
Another study from 2019 included Mg as an insomnia treatment, but only as part of a supplement that also had the major sleep aid melatonin & vitamin B.
In 2022, the authors of a review that analyzed all studies of Mg as an insomnia treatment concluded that without more and longer research, no definitive link between Mg and sleep could be drawn.
The biggest & widely practiced role of this mineral in improving health has long been for the treatment of migraines. Certain formulas & strengths are made available via prescription, to people who suffer from migraine attacks. Current theories about how magnesium actually works to alleviate these symptoms primarily suggest that it gives the brain a sort of boost to resume normal function. This includes moderating the release of chemical signals & also drawing healing factors into the area.
How to use magnesium safely?
If you want to take magnesium for sleep, relaxation, or for any other reason, it’s important to be aware about how much you’re taking. Supplements aren’t regulated in the same way medications are, Mg tablets may have other ingredients mixed with them. There are very few magnesium supplements that have been tested & verified about exactly what’s in them.
It’s always a good thing to check the bottle’s label to make sure the manufacturers have listed the amount of elemental magnesium (the volume of just the mineral itself) present in the pills.
A health care professional should always be consulted when you plan to start taking Mg supplement, to know whether it will be ideal for you & also to know what should be the starting dosage. This is important to do since supplements are not always risk-free.
The major side effects of too much of this mineral in the body are diarrhea, upset stomach, & eventually nausea and vomiting.
Like other sleep aids, it’s also good to use Mg supplements occasionally, since their effects can weaken over time. Before considering any supplement as sleep aid, you should first look into the reasons why you are having sleep issues.
FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions):
How much magnesium do you need daily?
What does magnesium do for females?
What should you avoid when taking magnesium?
It may also reduce the absorption of quinolone antibiotics, tetracycline antibiotics, and nitrofurantoin (Macrodandin).