Magnesium is an essential mineral for many functions in the body. Its role in muscle and nerve functions is a well-proven one, but does magnesium help you sleep? We will find the answer to why and how does it help you sleep in this article.
Magnesium is found in leafy greens, nuts, dairy products, grains, fortified cereals, soya products and chocolate etc. A craving for chocolate can be a symptom of magnesium deficiency as well.
Does Magnesium have any role to play in the sleep cycle? Does it help you sleep and if it does then how and why? Let’s explore the answers to find a good night’s sleep right after hitting the pillow!
How does Magnesium Help You Sleep?
So the answer is Yes, Magnesium does have a role to play in your sleep. It helps in eliminating the cause of insomnia (sleep disturbances) and aids in providing a better sleep cycle. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to sleep disturbances, that’s why taking enough magnesium can eliminate that specific cause.
Anxiety and depression are also linked to low magnesium intake. So if your sleep is disturbed because you are either anxious or depressed then magnesium can help ease that too. It also supports the regulation of neurotransmitters, which relaxes the nerves and makes you fall asleep faster.
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Benefits of Magnesium
- Increase in Melatonin – Melatonin is the sleep hormone that is essential for you to have a sound sleep for a long duration with fewer awakening episodes. Magnesium administration, 500 mg per day for 8 weeks has been known to boost the levels of melatonin in the body (source). This makes the sleep quality better and you will be able to sleep for longer durations than before.
- Helps in cases of Mild or Moderate Insomnia – The sleep time, sleep efficiency and increase in melatonin and serum renin, are all factors that lead to a decrease in insomnia severity score after administration of magnesium (source).
- Improves Immune System – Magnesium is known to boost the immune system’s ability to fight infections.
- Muscle and nerve function maintained – Magnesium plays a key role in maintaining muscle and nerve function along with the regulation of neurotransmitters.
- Good Bone Health – Magnesium prevents bone loss, it protects you from various bone density diseases such as osteoporosis. Taking magnesium regularly either through dietary sources or through supplements will keep the bones strong and will prevent fractures too.
- Decreases the Cortisol Levels – Cortisol is a stress hormone that is secreted when your body is under stress. It also interferes with your sleep and makes you anxious as well. Administration of magnesium regularly decreases the cortisol levels in the body, making it easier to relax and sleep.
- Effective in Restless leg-related insomnia – Magnesium also helps in relieving the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. The patients experience restlessness in the legs, especially in the evening hours when they are at rest. Magnesium also relieves periodic leg movements during sleep thereby giving you a peaceful sleeping experience (source).
- Probably Effective for Migraine – In combination with riboflavin and other minerals, magnesium is believed to be effective in the prevention of Migraine.
- Blood Sugar Levels maintenance – Although the studies are done on small sample size but providing it has that potential, it is advisable to take magnesium, especially for people having type 2 diabetes.
- Other Benefits of Magnesium – It provides energy for daily activities. Alcoholics and people with any gastrointestinal problems are also prone to magnesium deficiency so they should take its supplements as well as per doctor’s advice.
Side Effects of Magnesium
Magnesium when taken in more than recommended amount, can cause an upset stomach as some of its variables like magnesium oxide are laxatives. Some side-effects of magnesium are –
- Not suitable for kidney patients
- Can cause irregular heartbeat
- You should ask your healthcare professional before taking magnesium to avoid any drug interaction.
The side effects of magnesium can be minimized to a great extent by having the supplement with food.
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Magnesium Vs. Melatonin: What do you need for Sleep?
Magnesium prepares your body for good sleep by reducing stress levels and relaxing the muscles. Melatonin is a sleep inducer. So, it depends upon what hinders your sleep.
If you are unable to sleep because you are stressed or have restless legs then magnesium can help you but if you are not able to sleep for any other reason then melatonin, being a sleep hormone can come to your rescue. Magnesium also increases the concentration of melatonin in the blood.
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We have now come to the answer to the question ‘Does magnesium help you sleep?’ or ‘How does magnesium help you sleep’, the answer is Yes, it can help you sleep if the reason for your lack of sleep is magnesium deficiency, restless legs in the evening, stress levels and mild to moderate insomnia. Magnesium can help you feel relaxed, lower your stress levels and gives your restless legs a calm feel. So it doesn’t hurt to give it a try to find out how magnesium helps you sleep at night!