QUESTION: DO MAGNESIUM SLEEP HELP YOU?
Answer: Studies have found a link between low levels of magnesium, an important mineral that plays a very important role in a wide range of processes in the body and in sleep disorders. But if you are concerned that you do not have enough magnesium, changing your diet may be a better option than taking supplements, as “there is really little evidence that taking super-therapeutic doses of magnesium is beneficial to you,” said Dr. Raj Dasgupta, Professor of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at the University of Southern California.
This mineral is widely available in both plant and animal foods, and the kidneys limit the urinary excretion of magnesium, so deficiencies are rare in healthy people. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains are good sources of magnesium. Fish chickens and beef also contain magnesium. However, older adults with certain disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, and alcoholism, may be deficient.
“Magnesium deficiency has been associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety and difficulty relaxing, which are key ingredients for a good night’s sleep,” said Dr. Dasgupta. He noted that magnesium interacts with an important neurotransmitter that promotes sleep.
One small double-blind clinical study in Tehran with 43 elderly people who were randomly assigned to receive 500 milligrams of magnesium or a placebo for eight weeks found that those who received the supplement slept faster and spent more time in bed sleeping, but their the total sleep time was not necessarily longer.
An even smaller study of 10 people 20 years ago found that taking magnesium supplements helped people with Restless Legs Syndrome get more sleep.
If you suspect that you have a magnesium deficiency or want to take magnesium supplements, consult your doctor first. Magnesium can interact poorly with other medicines and taking excessive amounts in the form of supplements can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea and nausea. Including more leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains in your diet may be a better choice, doctors say.
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