Magnesium…you probably know about it for preventing cramps. But did you know it may also help you sleep better? The problem is there are several types. What’s the best form of magnesium, then?
Got insomnia? You’re obviously not alone. In fact, nearly 50% of adults have insomnia. That means that approximately 60 million people in the U.S. alone don’t get a good night’s sleep.
The problem with finding a fix for insomnia is that scientists, researchers and medical experts offer no clear consensus on what to do about it.
Without doubt, there’s countless remedies for sleep. However, many are over-the-counter or prescriptions that may produce negative side effects.
And obviously, in the natural health realm, there’s no shortage of remedies either. Take for instance, these naturally derived sleep aids that were studied for effectiveness. There’s also chamomile tea. And essential oils to help you relax. In addition, you can also adjust your lifestyle, thereby regulating your sleep cycle.
But maybe there is indeed a magic pill for sleep. And one that is safe for most people to take. And that possible sleep inducer is magnesium. But, what’s the best form of magnesium for sleep?
Magnesium for sleep?
Many people associate magnesium for alleviating or preventing muscle cramping and twitches. However, there’s some data that suggests it can help you get restful sleep.
Many people are not aware that this supplement may reduce the severity of insomnia. And in best outcomes, prevent it altogether.
Magnesium is a macromineral. That means that unlike trace minerals, which you don’t need lots of in the diet, you need a lot of it to support your body’s various functions.
Magnesium is one of seven macrominerals. However, with the aging process often comes poorer vitamin and mineral absorption. This helps explains why insomnia generally affects older people.
But that’s only part of the picture. In addition to poor vitamin and mineral absorption, the other main reason why some people are deficient in magnesium is simple. Blame it on the appropriately-named acronym, the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Many western diets are woefully inadequate in mineral-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables. Magnesium, in particular, is found in nuts, legumes and sea vegetables, as well as leafy greens. Thus, magnesium deficiency is one critical factor in insomnia.
You probably aren’t eating sea vegetables every day, right? Then if you want a good night sleep, maybe you should take a magnesium supplement? However, as with other supplements, quality can vary greatly.
Moreover, there’s more than one form of the supplement. There’s -citrate and -oxide. And also -orotate, -chloride, -sulfate, -carbonate and more….
In light of this, what’s the best form of magnesium for sleep?
Why Magnesium for sleep?
Before getting into what form of magnesium is best for sleep, let’s take a look at why it’s a critical nutrient.
For starters, magnesium increases your GABA activity. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps you stay calm.
But there’s way more to magnesium. According to the functional medicine doctor, Mark Hyman, M.D., it’s responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions. It’s found in all of your bodily tissues, including and especially your brain.
Moreover, the best form of magnesium will provide you with energy. Now, this benefit might sound counter-intuitive to getting a restful night sleep. However, perhaps the most important magnesium benefit is muscle relaxation.
In fact, Dr. Hyman says that magnesium is a stress antidote. “It’s the most powerful relaxation mineral available,” Hyman says on his blog.
Hyman’s blog post recalls his days working in the emergency room and when magnesium was used for life and death situations. The mineral can quickly correct a wildly irregular and dangerous heart beat.
Magnesium, says Hyman, is also used for less critical factors. It can unblock an uncomfortable bout of constipation. (It’s handy for colonoscopies.)
Liquid magnesium citrate helps empty the bowels. But is it also the best form of magnesium for sleep? Stay tuned to find out….
Hyman also remembers using magnesium for pre-term labor. And also pregnancy with high blood pressure or seizures.
Is there proof magnesium works?
Yes, there are a few studies that suggest magnesium supplementation helps induce a better night’s sleep.
For example, according to this study, magnesium plays a key role in the regulation of sleep, especially in elderly populations.
The study involves 46 subjects. The two groups either receive placebo or 500 mg magnesium supplement every day for eight weeks. Questionnaires and blood samples were assessed sleep quality.
Blood levels of magnesium were tested. Blood renin levels were also measures. Renin regulates the body’s water balance and blood pressure. Moreover, the test assessed levels of sleep hormone, melatonin. And also the stress hormone, cortisol.
The result of the test? The group taking dietary magnesium shows increases in sleep time and sleep efficiency. Also, blood renin and magnesium levels showed improvement. So, too, did melatonin levels.
The study also shows a significant decrease in cortisol. When you have more cortisol, that makes it more difficult to get a peaceful night sleep.
Another study shows that taking a combination of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc lessens the severity of insomnia in long-term care facility residents. The study involves 43 participants with primary insomnia. The formula the test subject supplements with includes 5 mg melatonin, 225 mg magnesium, and 11.25 mg zinc (is a solution of pear pulp). The test group took the formula every day for 8 weeks, an hour before bedtime. As a result of the formula with magnesium, the test participants had much better sleep quality.
These studies and others suggest taking a magnesium supplement can improve sleep quality. However, as with other supplements, quality can be across the board. And magnesium is no exception.
What is the best form of magnesium?
One of the problems with some magnesium supplements is absorbtion. In essence, taking certain magnesium supplements might be like pissing your money down the toilet.
In order to absorb enough magnesium, you also need to get enough vitamins B6 and D in the diet. You also need enough trace minerals such as selenium. Again, with most people eating a SAD diet, both magnesium intake and absorption are problematic.
Another main problem with supplements, in general, is the different forms they come in. Consider the many forms of magnesium. If you review the section above, “magnesium for sleep” you’ll see several forms. So what is the best form of magnesium for sleep?
According to Dr. Hyman, both citrate and glycinate are the best forms of magnesium. Hyman also adds that most people benefit by taking anywhere from 400 to 1,000 mg a day.
Other effective forms of magnesium for sleep include taurate and aspartate. There’s also magnesium succinate, malate and fumarate. Perhaps it’s up for slight debate what is the single best form of magnesium.
However, according to Dr. Hyman, avoid taking magnesium carbonate. Also avoid magnesium sulfate, gluconate and oxide. These forms are common in magnesium supplements. But you won’t absorb them very well.
Best magnesium supplement for sleep
There are far too many magnesium supplements for sleep to recommend just one or two. However, the conclusion of this article offers an intriguing, luxurious supplement you probably never thought of.
Magnesium for sleep side effects
Magnesium is safe for most people. It goes without saying that it’s a good idea to consult your doctor or other healthcare professional if you take medication before supplementing with magnesium.
One of the most common side effects from excessive magnesium intake is diarrhea. Which makes the case for magnesium glycinate being the best form of magnesium. That’s because risk of this unpleasant side effect may be minimized with glycinate.
But perhaps the best way to get magnesium comes not from a pill, but from your tub. Taking a hot soak with magnesium sulfate, aka Epsom salts, is a highly absorbable way of getting magnesium into the muscles.
And when you feel a profound sense of relaxation after taking a bath, you may sleep much more soundly. So go ahead and take a relaxing Epsom salt bath!
Looking for other ways to help your sleep? Himalayan salt lamps have been shown to help with insomnia and other sleep related issues. Check out our article on Himalayan salt lamp benefits to read about how it could help you get better rest!