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Magnesium For Sleep: How It Helps Support Healthy Sleep

Our bodies are naturally built around two basic states of being - active and alert, and inactive and restful. Sometimes we need help activating the part of our brains that causes us to wind down and sleep. People with sleeping disorders can struggle with the ability to not only calm down, but even fall asleep all together.

There are multiple ways a person can attempt to help aid their sleep journey. Very important factors like stress levels throughout the day, or managing your time so that you can engage in restful, peaceful activities nearer to bed. Controlling the amount of blue light that screens give off and cutting it out an hour before it’s time to sleep or even changing up your diet and exercise routine are all valid, and important steps to help in your sleep journey. 


However, the truth of the matter is that sleep to a large degree is chemical. Our brain is the command center of the central nervous system and like any organ can be stimulated or pacified by interactions with certain chemical compounds. One of the substances that has been linked to helping your brain switch into sleep mode is the mineral magnesium. But before we look at what magnesium is or how it could impact your sleep, let's take a closer look at our central nervous system and why magnesium interacts with it. 


Why Magnesium Affects Our Sleep

 

Our central nervous system is subdivided into two categories that help either be alert and wakeful or calm and restful and those systems are called the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. 


The sympathetic nervous system is what is commonly called the fight or flight system. This vital part of our wiring keeps us alive actually, giving us the clarity to make decisions in emergencies. This also kicks into play when making more common decisions that take a certain level of alertness, like driving through traffic or what color shirt to wear to an interview. 


The parasympathetic nervous system is associated with the opposite end of the spectrum. This system aids in helping you calm down and relax and is typically activated when you are safe and not in any danger. This system also helps redirect your energy toward processes like digestion and sleeping. 


The parasympathetic nervous system is where the mineral magnesium comes into play and where it can impact your sleep journey as a supplement. 


Magnesium Is Important


Our bodies naturally run off of substances that we take in from the world around us that we otherwise cannot synthesize. This is the case with several
minerals and amino acids that not only promote natural health but are vital to life itself.


One of those minerals that impacts our bodies on a high level is magnesium. This powerful mineral plays an important role in the biochemistry of our bodies impacting over three hundred enzymatic processes and playing a role in all of our major systems!


With a substance so crucial, it’s a good thing it’s so abundant in our diet. It is actually difficult to try and not consume magnesium. It’s found in most foods containing dietary fibers like leafy greens and vegetables. It is also present in peanuts, leguns, chia seeds and many other natural food sources that we eat either directly or derivatives of every day. 

 

How Does Magnesium Support Your Sleep?


This incredible mineral acts to help activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Remember, this is the part of our writing that causes our central nervous system to calm down and relax. Let's take a look at three ways magnesium can help support your natural sleep pathways.


Magnesium Encourages Melatonin Production


First, magnesium has been linked to affecting our bodies natural ability to produce or minimize hormones.
Magnesium is thought to be linked to an increase in melatonin in those who take it as a supplemental form. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that is thought to play a role in circadian rhythms of when we naturally feel sleepy and when we naturally wake up and feel alert. 


Magnesium Reduces Cortisol Levels


Secondly, magnesium is thought to be linked to a decrease in the hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that our bodies naturally excrete to elevate our cognition and heighten our sense of alertness. This is a hormone that would be associated with the sympathetic nervous system.  


Magnesium Is increases GABA


Thirdly magnesium is linked to an increase in
GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid). This amino acid is possibly one of the strongest links between magnesium and its ability to support natural, healthy sleep. The purpose of this substance is to wind down the brain and help relax the central nervous system in a more sedative state ready for sleep. 


Who is at Risk of Magnesium Deficiency?


When magnesium levels are low, people are considered to be magnesium deficient. This is something that can happen however it usually is the cause of some other metabolic or health related issue.

 

The human body recognizes how important magnesium is and the fact that it comes from our diet means that we must naturally preserve it otherwise we would run a risk of being chronically deficient. The kidneys are actually responsible for why our bodies do such a good job of maintaining healthy levels of magnesium as they don’t allow it to be filtered out along with the waste that follows micturition.  


However, individuals with chronic gastrointestinal distress and challenges are at risk of developing
magnesium deficiency. This is mainly due to the fact that our diet is our primary source of magnesium, so if magnesium isn’t coming in due to gastrointestinal issues posing challenges for it’s intake, then it will naturally be low in our bodies.


Older individuals and people with alcohol dependence have also been shown to have trouble maintaining healthy magnesium levels. Magnesium has also been linked to helping the body maintain healthy glucose levels. Individuals who have challenges with maintaining proper glucose levels may also suffer from magnesium deficiency.


What Happens When You are Low on Magnesium?


Magnesium is widespread throughout the body as a vital part of many different functions and systems. It can impact our sleep and at the same time is an integral part of making our actual DNA and RNA molecules. 


When our bodies are deficient in this important mineral, a lot of adverse effects can take place. 


A
lack of magnesium has been thought to be linked to exaggerated muscle fatigue and has even been linked to cardiac abnormalities. Furthermore,  low levels of magnesium may also play a key role in affecting your mood and have been linked to mental health issues.

 

A lack of this vital mineral can also have a very negative effect on your sleeping patterns. Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both are common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. While only two percent of the population in the United States is estimated to have a magnesium deficiency, it is fairly common for this condition to go misdiagnosed or even underdiagnosed. 


Because magnesium is present in so many different kinds of foods and the fact that our kidneys have a system of preserving it from being excreted with bodily waste, magnesium deficiency is not common. However, that does not mean that people have enough magnesium. 


Mg Of Magnesium: Types Of Intake


Adult women require about 310 to 320 mg of magnesium per day while adult men need roughly 400 to 420 mg daily. 


Magnesium supplements are sometimes used to treat various sleep disorders, helping to improve sleep-wake cycles and reduce sleep latency. Additionally, reports have shown that up to 500 mg of magnesium intake can help those struggling with insomnia.  


Magnesium is often found in food such as dairy (calcium), leafy greens, and nuts. In particular, cashews, almonds, legumes and whole grains are great examples of magnesium-rich foods.


Keep in mind, if you take a high dose of magnesium medications or dietary supplements, you may experience diarrhea, stomach cramps, or nausea. However, due to its relaxing qualities, high doses of magnesium can induce a laxative effect which is a common remedy for those struggling with constipation. 


Not Having a Magnesium Deficiency Doesn’t Mean You Have Magnesium


The health benefits of magnesium are so wide spread that while you may not have such a low amount of magnesium that it constitutes deficiency, but very possibly you could not be experiencing the full benefits of magnesium. 


This is where taking magnesium as a dietary supplement can be a very powerful tool in your sleep journey. Magnesium overdose is not considered a threat as your kidneys not only ensure that your body does not deplete it’s stores of magnesium through excretion, it also through the same method of excretion removes too much magnesium.  


Magnesium can also be combined with powerful adaptogens, minerals and supplements to help enhance it’s health giving benefits. ASYSTEM has worked fearlessly to create a
gummy supplement that isn’t just delicious and easy to consume but powerfully infused with the benefits of magnesium and other ingredients like melatonin and L-tryptophan. 


No matter where you’re at on your health journey with getting a good night of sleep, magnesium is a friend on this journey that can help you accomplish your sleep goals. Your body naturally uses this powerful vitamin and a myriad of ways that promote good health and stress support. It also ensures that you will reserve it and at the same time remove any excess amount that may accumulate. 


While it can be supplemented through concentrated diets that are high in magnesium, a proven and effective way to take in magnesium is through a dietary supplement.

 


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Source

How Magnesium Can Help You Sleep | Healthline

Magnesium | NIH

7 Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency | Healthline

Using Magnesium for Better Sleep | Sleep Foundation

What You Need to Know About Magnesium and Your Sleep | Psychology Today

Meet our Experts

This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.

  • Dr. Jay Cowin, Nutrition Expert

    Founder of Functional U, a Nutrition, Performance & Optimal Health practice.