Magnesium is a vital element which is needed for the proper functioning of every organ of the body, especially the kidneys, heart, and muscle. Magnesium is also involved in the structural development of bones and teeth and regulates the levels of copper, calcium, potassium, zinc, and vitamin D in the body. The role of Magnesium for sleep quality is that it activates different enzymes and neurotransmitters in the body which aid in the induction and maintenance of sleep.
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The Mechanics of Magnesium for Sleep, that Makes You Wake Up Rested
- Magnesium helps calming overexcited neurons
Magnesium, especially a salt of magnesium called magnesium glycinate, is vital for the proper functioning and activation of GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter present in the hypothalamus part of the brain. Its function is to reduce the activity of the neurons. Since overexcited neurons can lead to increased levels of adrenaline, which in turn can cause anxiety and stress, GABA has a calming effect, that is important for a good nights sleep.
- Magnesium relaxes the muscles
In addition to the activation of the GABA receptors, magnesium also plays an important role in the body’s musculoskeletal system. Magnesium causes the muscles to relax and it greatly decreases the discomfort caused by muscle cramping. Magnesium also causes the relaxation of skeletal and smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and different blood vessels of the body. Due to this relaxation, there’s great decrease in the physical stress of the body and the result is relaxed, uninterrupted sleep.
- Magnesium decreases the temperature of the brain
Magnesium helps in lowering the brain temperature during the sleep-wake cycle, which helps in sleep induction because the body tries to maintain a low temperature during sleep in order to conserve energy.
Therefore, magnesium deficiency in an individual leads to increased periods of sleeplessness i.e. insomnia, along with troubled sleep and vivid nightmares.
Dietary Sources and Magnesium Supplements
Foods rich in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, legumes, soybean, whole grains, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, pine nuts, black walnuts, pumpkin and squash seeds, peanuts, spinach, oatmeal, banana, beet greens, pistachio nuts, shredded wheat, chocolate and cocoa powder. If the dietary intake of magnesium is not sufficient to recover the magnesium deficiency in an individual, then magnesium supplements are recommended. The daily requirement of magnesium is about 400mg in males, 310mg in females, and 130 to 240mg in children. However, magnesium requirement is high during pregnancy, i.e. up to 350 mg per day.
It’s recommended not to consume more than the prescribed dose of magnesium for sleep induction because magnesium overdose or toxicity – although rare – can lead to adverse effects which include diarrhea, nausea, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, severe hypotension (i.e. extremely low blood pressure), irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrest. The risk of magnesium toxicity is higher in people with kidney failure as the ability to remove excess magnesium is reduced.