Sometimes we overcomplicate things. We look for elaborate diet plans, prescription medications, and complex regimes to soothe what ails us. But, often, the answer is simple. A vitamin, a mineral or changing your pillow could be the answer to improved health and wellness.
Magnesium is one of those options that may be overlooked because of its simplicity. Some may believe it’s just too easy, accessible, and affordable to work. If you have been sleepin’ on magnesium (pun intended) – you need to wake up to the power of this magnificent mineral. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 different enzyme reactions to help with nerve and muscle function, blood pressure, and your immune system. It has one of the biggest influences on our bodies!
Even if you don’t take magnesium supplements, your body contains it, stored primarily in your skeletal system. We need it to function and acquire it from certain foods like dairy products, meat, seeds and nuts, dark leafy greens, squash, broccoli, chocolate, coffee, and unprocessed whole grains. Because it is involved in so many biological processes, our bodies need a lot of it, and we rely on our diet to get it.
Unfortunately, many Americans don’t eat enough magnesium-rich foods and are deficient.
In fact, estimates suggest that up to 75% of Americans are low, with women and older adults being more prone to a deficiency.
According to the National Institutes of Health, women need between 310-320 mg/day, and men need 400-420 mg/day. A magnesium deficiency can cause several health complications ranging from seizures to vomiting to insomnia to changes in heart rhythm. Even if you aren’t deficient, research has found that adults can benefit from magnesium supplements.
The Benefits of Magnesium
If your body were a corporation, magnesium would be on the executive team. It is involved in so many bodily functions and is vital to our well-being. Therefore, when you increase your magnesium levels through supplementation, your body benefits.
Magnesium can improve cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation and maintaining a healthy heart rhythm, and it aids in bone development while simultaneously guarding against bone loss. It can also help with pain and PMS. Research has found that magnesium can reduce common premenstrual symptoms like irritability, mood swings, bloating, and anxiety.
There are an additional two benefits that can help a combined 102 million Americans – those who suffer from migraines and those who suffer from sleep disorders.
Over 36 million Americans suffer from migraines, and though there are some treatment options, there are still very few remedies that work. However, recent research has discovered that the answer to migraine prevention may be quite simple. One study found that by taking 600 mg of magnesium a day, the frequency and severity of migraines could be reduced. The American Migraine Foundation also recommends at least 400-500mg a day. Its effectiveness, accessibility, and affordability make it a viable option for the majority of migraine suffers.
The number of Americans who suffer from sleep problems is even higher, at about 70 million people. Fortunately, just as it helps with migraines, magnesium can also improve the quality and quantity of sleep.
Magnesium Glycinate for Sleep
If you suffer from insomnia, magnesium glycinate can help. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders in which you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or wake up too early. There are several different causes, such as age-related insomnia, stress, and anxiety, or depression.
Many studies have examined magnesium glycinate for sleep and found it to be an effective treatment for insomnia. Older adults are more prone to insomnia and sleep disorders. One clinical trial found that by supplementing with magnesium, age-related sleep troubles were reversed. Another 2012 study found similar results, reporting that magnesium had effectively reduced insomnia in older adults. They slept for longer, and the quality of their sleep had improved.
Others may find their sleep troubles are due to stress or anxiety. Every night when they lay their head on their buckwheat hulls pillow, their mind begins to race, keeping them up at night. As the clock ticks, their anxiety worsens. Magnesium glycinate can help with this type of insomnia as well by regulating Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter that essentially puts your brain into “sleep mode” at night. It quiets communication, powering systems down and easing you into sleep. When you take magnesium glycinate, your body will have plenty of GABA to help calm your mind so you can sleep.
Magnesium glycinate can reduce anxiety altogether. Studies have found that magnesium supplements can be an effective, natural anxiety treatment by balancing the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Mood disorders like depression may also cause insomnia. A 2015 study found that magnesium supplements can reduce the symptoms of depression, especially in younger adults. When depression is lessened, sleep can improve.
In addition to helping with insomnia, magnesium can improve restless leg syndrome. Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is another disorder that keeps many people up at night. About 7 – 10% of the U.S. population has RLS, which causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs. It’s a consistent and uncomfortable sensation described as pins and needles that can occur throughout the entire night or for periods of time. These symptoms can also occur during the day but are often worse when not moving, like lying in bed. Like migraines, there isn’t a cure for RLS, but research has found that magnesium may be an effective treatment option, reducing severity and frequency.
Even if you don’t have trouble falling asleep on your buckwheat hulls pillow every night, a magnesium glycinate supplement can improve the quality of your sleep and make you feel more refreshed in the morning. Those who work night shifts or traveling to a different time zone can also benefit from he sleep-enhancing effects of magnesium.
The Various Types of Magnesium
If you are looking for a magnesium supplement, you may become confused by all the different options like magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium malate.
Generally speaking, they will all provide benefits of magnesium. The critical difference is in the amount, molecular size, and absorption. For your body to receive elemental magnesium as a supplement, it must be bound to something.
It is important to choose the right type of magnesium that will meet your needs. For example, if you want magnesium for sleep, you will need magnesium glycinate. To clear up any confusion, here is an overview of the common types of magnesium supplements you will find online and in health food stores:
This is the most common form of magnesium used to treat sleep disorders. It provides all the benefits of magnesium while being gentle on the stomach. Other forms of magnesium, namely magnesium oxide and citrate, can cause diarrhea and stomach cramping. This is prevented when magnesium is bound to glycine. Glycine is an amino acid involved in transmitting chemical signals in the brain. It is considered a relaxing neurotransmitter and will enhance the sleep benefits of magnesium. You should take magnesium glycinate if you want to improve sleep, have a sensitive stomach, and want the calming effects of magnesium.
This is another popular magnesium supplement. Instead of being bound to glycinate, it is bound to citric acid. Citric acid is a large molecule, which means you get less magnesium per capsule. It also has a laxative effect and can cause diarrhea. Although this isn’t desirable for everyone, it may be preferred by someone who experiences constipation.
Magnesium oxide isn’t as commonly used as it is in the least absorbable form. That said, oxide is very small, so you will get a higher percentage of magnesium in each capsule. When in the colon, it attracts water which provides a laxative effect. This can also be beneficial to someone who experiences constipation.
Magnesium malate is a gentler form, unlike oxide or citrate versions. It is bound to malic acid, which plays a role in ATP synthesis. This form of magnesium is good for someone looking to increase energy or experiences symptoms of fibromyalgia.
These are the most common types of magnesium supplements, but you will also find many others, each with its own benefits. When buying magnesium, just remember that magnesium glycinate is for sleep and it won’t have you running to the bathroom all night.
Our magnesium glycinate supplement provides sleep and nervous system support. It will not only improve the quality of your sleep but will reduce anxiety, maintain normal heart rhythm, reduce pain, promote bone health and manage blood sugar in those with diabetes.
So when to take magnesium for sleep?
30 minutes before you crawl into bed and lay on your buckwheat hulls pillow, take two capsules. This will provide you with 350 mg of magnesium so you can receive all the benefits listed here. A good night’s sleep doesn’t have to be complicated. A great pillow and a magnesium glycinate supplement may be just want you need for sweet dreams. A more traditional approach in helping you fall asleep, is a natural sleep aid. If you want to learn more about sleep aids, check out our article about sleep aids and sleep supplements.