Have you ever wakened far too early and resigned yourself to tossing and turning until time to get up? This scenario is common. We were pleased to learn that one reader found a simple supplement could help her sleep better throughout the night.
Magnesium to Sleep Better:
Q. I usually fall asleep okay, but then I wake up in the middle of the night. A friend told me to take magnesium before bedtime. That worked! I rarely wake up at 3:30 AM now.
Sleep is a wonderful thing! I’m reading more and more about how most of us are deficient in magnesium anyway, so a supplement is okay.
Adequacy of Magnesium Intake:
A. Magnesium is indeed essential for good health. Many people develop insufficiency in this mineral, especially as they age. The federal Office of Dietary Supplements notes that Americans’ intakes of magnesium from their diets are consistently lower than recommended. Older people, heavy drinkers, people with type 2 diabetes and those with digestive disorders (especially those taking PPIs) are all at risk for magnesium inadequacy.
Will Magnesium Help You Sleep Better?
A small placebo-controlled trial concluded that there was significant improvement in both subjective and objective measures of insomnia with magnesium supplementation (Abbasi et al, Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, Dec. 2012). A small Spanish study found that older people could sleep better after soaking in magnesium-rich mineral hot springs (Latorre-Román et al, Psychogeriatrics, March 2015). We can’t say, though, whether that effect is due to transdermal absorption of magnesium or the relaxing effects of a hot bath.
Cautions About Magnesium:
Too much magnesium from laxatives or supplements can lead to diarrhea, however. In addition, those with reduced kidney function should steer clear of this element.
Other Approaches to Help You Sleep Better:
You can learn more about the pros and cons of sleeping pills and nondrug approaches for insomnia from our comprehensive online resource, the Graedons’ Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.