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Magnesium For Sleep

Magnesium For Sleep

By Dr. Patrick Lovegrove Medically Reviewed by Lindsay Langley, BSN, RN, CHT
Posted Monday, July 12th, 2021
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The magnitude of magnesium’s importance in the human body cannot be understated. This master mineral is the fourth most abundant element in the human body and is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.

Magnesium is pivotal in triggering the relaxation pathways in the body. One reason for this is that magnesium aids in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) production, the neurotransmitter that soothes the nervous system and promotes sleep. Thus, a lack of magnesium can lead to sleep problems. Balance is vital as overconsumption of magnesium can also be detrimental to health.

Magnesium gets depleted when exercising, under stress, or during illness. Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to inadequate magnesium levels.

Which Form of Magnesium is Best for Sleep & Anxiety?

Magnesium must be delivered in a bioavailable form that’s easy for the body to absorb. Certain forms of magnesium are best suited for sleep and anxiety, while others are more helpful for headaches or constipation. The main forms of magnesium are outlined below.

  1. Magnesium glycinate/glycerophosphate – best for sleep and anxiety. Magnesium glycerophosphate is ideal for stress relief and sleep. Glycerophosphate has the lowest rate of diarrhea, as compared to other forms of magnesium.
  2. Magnesium citrate/ sulfate – helpful for constipation, and is commonly administered as a saline laxative before surgery. 
  3. Magnesium malate – highly absorbable form; helpful with headaches, heartburn, depression, and upset stomach.

6 Signs Associated with Low Magnesium

It’s important to recognize signs of low magnesium so proper steps can be taken to boost magnesium intake. Symptoms may include:

1. Asthma

Individuals suffering from asthma are often deficient in magnesium. Asthma is worse when magnesium levels are low because of a buildup of calcium in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. 

2. Heart Arrhythmia or Irregular Heartbeat

A magnesium deficiency can cause a potassium imbalance, inducing an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).

3. Muscle Cramps, Twitches & Tremors

It is believed that muscle cramps, twitches, and tremors are caused by excess calcium in nerve cells from a magnesium deficiency, resulting in overexcited tissue.

4. High Blood Pressure & Heart Disease

Magnesium helps relax blood vessels, thus, low levels of magnesium may contribute to increased blood pressure.

5. Mental Health Disorders

Anxiety and depression have been attributed in part to a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium helps relay information between the body and the brain; depleted stores of magnesium may lead to nerve or brain damage.

6. Osteoporosis

While osteoporosis is normally attributed to aging or a lack of vitamin D and/or calcium, animal studies have found that a magnesium deficiency can reduce bone mass. 

9 Foods High in Magnesium

Magnesium is found in a wide variety of whole foods. As such it’s often not consumed by those eating a high quantity of processed foods. Additionally, modern industrial farming depletes the soil of many essential minerals such as magnesium. Some good sources of magnesium include:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Tofu
  • Bananas
  • Whole grains
  • Leafy greens
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Dr. Patrick Lovegrove