Using Magnesium to Improve Sleep
One of its lesser-known roles of magnesium is in helping us get good sleep. This magnificent mineral appears to increase sleepiness, relax the body and reduce anxiety, and even reverse age-related changes in sleep often seen in older adults.
In this article, we're going deep into science behind how this works. We'll focus on how it helps control brain signals and hormones that are key for sleeping well.
How Magnesium Impacts Sleep
Magnesium plays a significant role in the quality of sleep you experience, yet this aspect is often overlooked. It's not just about being a component of a healthy diet; magnesium actually interacts directly with your sleep biology.
Magnesium operates in the nervous system by binding to neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that help your brain switch from active to restful states. It is crucial in converting tryptophan into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin. As the primary hormone governing the sleep-wake cycle, melatonin helps signal to your body when it's time to wind down for sleep, thus playing a critical role in the quality and duration of sleep.
Beyond neurotransmitters, magnesium is instrumental in maintaining the accuracy of your internal body clock, or circadian rhythm. This biological timer regulates when you feel alert and when you feel sleepy. By helping to keep this clock running smoothly, magnesium can improve the regularity of your sleep patterns, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.
Physical relaxation is another important factor for sleep, and magnesium aids this by calming your muscles. Tense muscles can make it difficult not just to fall asleep, but to stay in a deep, restorative sleep. Magnesium counteracts calcium's role in muscle contraction, allowing your muscles to relax and setting the stage for undisturbed sleep.
Last but not least, magnesium regulates the body's response to stress by inhibiting the release of adrenaline and activating GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is the brain's primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, and its activation leads to relaxation and reduced neural activity. This helps to initiate sleep and keep you asleep by maintaining a state of calm in the nervous system.
Which Form of Magnesium is Best for Sleep?
Choosing the most effective form of magnesium for improving sleep can be a complex task, given the variety of options available.
Each of these magnesium types has distinct scientific properties that affect their absorption rates, effectiveness, and suitability for improving sleep.
This form is a combination of magnesium and citric acid. Its high solubility in water contributes to its easy absorption in the digestive tract. However, the citric acid also has a mild laxative effect, which can be amplified when consumed in higher doses. While effective for relaxation, it may not be the best option for those with sensitive digestive systems.
Magnesium Glycinate is magnesium bound to glycine, an amino acid. Glycine itself has calming effects on the brain and can improve sleep quality. This form is highly bioavailable and less likely to cause digestive upset, making it suitable for those with sensitive stomachs and a preferred choice for sleep enhancement.
Comprising magnesium and oxygen, this form has a lower bioavailability because it is less soluble in water. While it contains a high percentage of elemental magnesium, its poor absorption rate often requires higher doses for effectiveness, making it less ideal for sleep improvement.
This is one of the newer forms of magnesium and is specifically designed to cross the blood-brain barrier. L-Threonate is an enantiomer of the metabolite threonate, which is a compound that affects protein synthesis and neurotransmission. Its ability to penetrate the brain makes it a particularly interesting option for its potential to improve both sleep and cognitive functions.
Often used in topical applications like oils and sprays, magnesium chloride has good bioavailability. When applied to the skin, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the gastrointestinal system. This makes it an effective option for those who may have digestive issues.
Nano Magnesium is engineered at the nanoscale to facilitate higher absorption rates and bioavailability. Because the particles are so small, they are readily absorbed through cellular walls. The high absorption rate allows for higher dosing without gastrointestinal side effects. This makes Nano Magnesium an attractive choice for those seeking a potent and efficient way to improve sleep quality.
Can Magnesium Disrupt Sleep?
While magnesium is generally associated with improved sleep, it's important to note that there can be exceptions. For instance, taking magnesium too close to bedtime could make it difficult for some people to wake up the next morning. This is because magnesium's relaxation effects might extend into feelings of morning drowsiness for some individuals.
Another aspect to consider is the interaction between magnesium and other medications or supplements you might be taking. For example, if you're taking sedative medications, adding magnesium to the mix could result in excessive sleepiness or even difficulty waking up.
Lastly, individual tolerance to magnesium can vary. In some cases, especially if consumed in high doses, magnesium supplements could lead to digestive discomfort. This can be disruptive to sleep if you find yourself needing to visit the bathroom frequently during the night.
Magnesium vs. Melatonin
When it comes to natural sleep aids, magnesium and melatonin are often compared. Both are commonly used to improve sleep quality, but they work in different ways and offer distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Magnesium aids sleep by facilitating relaxation, both mentally and physically. It interacts with neurotransmitters in the brain to help prepare the body for sleep and also aids in muscle relaxation. This mineral is generally well-tolerated and can be consumed through a balanced diet or supplements.
Melatonin, on the other hand, is a hormone that your body naturally produces in response to darkness. It essentially signals to your body that it's time to sleep. Melatonin supplements are commonly used to adjust the internal body clock and can be particularly effective for jet lag or shift work.
One advantage of using magnesium over melatonin is that it doesn't directly induce sleep, but rather helps prepare the body for it. This means you're less likely to experience morning grogginess, a side effect sometimes associated with melatonin. However, melatonin can be more effective for quickly resetting your sleep cycle, especially in cases like jet lag.
It's also worth noting that the two can be used in combination for a synergistic effect. Magnesium can enhance the body's responsiveness to melatonin, potentially making smaller doses of melatonin more effective.
How to Use Magnesium for Sleep
Oral supplements are generally the first option people consider. Among these, Nano Magnesium stands out for its high bioavailability, meaning your body can absorb and use it more efficiently. This form of magnesium allows for higher dosing without the gastrointestinal side effects commonly associated with other forms. If you're looking to take a substantial dose of magnesium to ensure better sleep, Nano Magnesium taken just before bed is a good option.
Topical applications such as sprays, oils, and lotions are an effective alternative, especially for those who have digestive sensitivities or simply prefer not to take supplements orally. While the choice between spray, oil, or lotion largely comes down to personal preference, all three forms are designed to bypass the digestive system by being absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the skin. Oils may offer slightly better absorption due to their ability to penetrate the skin more deeply, but the difference is generally considered to be minimal.
Focusing on dietary sources like leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains is always beneficial for overall health, but achieving the necessary therapeutic levels of magnesium through diet alone can be challenging, making supplementation often necessary for noticeable sleep improvement.
When to Take Magnesium for Sleep
The best time to take magnesium for better sleep can vary, but usually it's good to take it a few hours before you go to bed. This gives your body enough time to absorb it and helps you relax before sleep.
However, if you're using Nano Magnesium, you can take it closer to bedtime. Because it's absorbed more quickly, you don't have to worry about taking it earlier in the evening. This is handy if you forget to take your supplement until right before you want to go to sleep.
Your personal schedule might also affect when you take magnesium. If you work nights or have irregular hours, you'll need to adjust the timing to fit your sleep cycle. As always, it's a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider to figure out the best time for you to take magnesium.
Sprays, Lotions and Creams, and Oil: Do these Forms of Magnesium Really Affect Sleep?
When it comes to applying magnesium topically, some health influencers advocate sprays, lotions and creams, and oils. All of these options allow the magnesium to be absorbed directly through your skin, avoiding any digestive issues.
However, the different forms do have some unique features. Sprays are easy to apply and dry quickly, making them a convenient choice. Lotions and creams might include additional ingredients for skin care benefits but may take longer to dry. Oils often offer slightly better absorptio, but some people find them a bit messy.
Ultimately, the choice between these options often comes down to personal preference. But if you're looking for the highest absorption, oils are generally considered the best option.
Of course, taking Nano magnesium is as simple and tasteless as a shot of clear water and, accordinging to our reviews, the most effective method of all.
Best Magnesium Dosage for Improved Sleep
Getting the dosage right is key to maximizing the benefits of magnesium for sleep. While the recommended daily allowance for magnesium varies by age and gender, it generally ranges from 310 mg to 420 mg for adults. For sleep improvement, dosages often start at around 200 mg per day, although this can vary based on individual needs.
Nano Magnesium, due to its high bioavailability, allows for a more flexible dosing schedule. You can take a higher dose right before bed without the risk of digestive issues, making it a convenient and effective option.
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(2) Arab A, Rafie N, Amani R, Shirani F. The Role of Magnesium in Sleep Health: a Systematic Review of Available Literature. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2023 Jan;201(1):121-128. doi: 10.1007/s12011-022-03162-1. Epub 2022 Feb 19. PMID: 35184264.