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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

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. This neurotransmitter soothes the nervous system and promotes sleep.

Every time we exercise, we are under stress or are sick, which depletes the magnesium in our body. A lack of magnesium can lead to sleep problems. Having a high level of magnesium in our body is also detrimental to our health. Excessive alcohol consumption is also affecting the magnesium levels in our bodies.

Which Form of Magnesium is Best for Sleep & Anxiety?

Delivering magnesium must be in a bioavailable form that’s easy for the body to absorb. Specific forms of magnesium are best suited for sleep and anxiety, while others are more helpful for headaches or constipation. 

Below are outlines of the primary conditions of magnesium.

  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 forms compared to other magnesium forms.
  2. Magnesium citrate/ sulfate – is helpful for constipation and is commonly administered in a saline laxative before surgery. 
  3. Magnesium malate – is a highly absorbable form. It is helpful with headaches, heartburn, depression, and upset stomach.

6 Signs Associated with Low Magnesium

Recognizing signs of low magnesium is essential. It will help us to take proper steps to boost magnesium intake. Symptoms may include:

1. Asthma

Individuals who have asthma are often deficient in magnesium. Asthma is worse when magnesium levels are low because of a buildup of calcium in the lungs, making breathing difficult. 

2. Heart Arrhythmia or Irregular Heartbeat

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

3. Muscle Cramps, Twitches & Tremors

Experts believe 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. Therefore, low levels of magnesium may contribute to increased blood pressure.

5. Mental Health Disorders

Attributing anxiety and depression is part of 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 generally attributing osteoporosis to aging or lacking vitamin D and calcium, studies have found that a magnesium deficiency can reduce bone mass. 

9 Foods High in Magnesium

You can find magnesium 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
About the author

Dr. Patrick Lovegrove