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Using magnesium as a sleep aid

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Magnesium is a mineral that contributes to more than 300 bodily processes, including regulation of the cardiovascular system, muscle building, neurological function, and bone growth.

Yet, studies estimate that 15 percent of the general population has a significant magnesium deficiency, which can manifest as anxiety, muscle spasms, fatigue and insomnia.

There are several types of magnesium.The most absorbable forms include citrate, glycinate, taurate, and aspartate, while the least absorbable forms are carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. You also need enough vitamin B6, vitamin D, and selenium in your diet in order to optimize absorption of magnesium.

Because magnesium is essential to so many bodily processes, it makes sense that a magnesium deficiency could contribute to trouble sleeping. Studies have shown that magnesium increases production of the hormones renin and melatonin, which help regulate sleep. It also calms the nervous system, reducing anxiety and allowing the body to relax. It may even reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Magnesium needs to be a regular part of the diet in order to help with sleep--you can’t just pop the occasional vitamin before bed and expect it to knock you out.

If you have one or more of these risk factors and are having trouble getting enough quality sleep each night, talk to your doctor about whether magnesium supplements might help. Common risk factors include:

  • Chronic stress
  • Insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Digestive issues like Crohn’s disease
  • Alcohol dependency

● Taking certain drugs, including, acid blockers like Tagamet, Pepcid, and Zantac, antacids, antibiotics like Amoxil and Cipro, diuretics and oral contraceptives containing levonorgestrel or ethinyl estradiol

The recommended daily intake of magnesium is 310 to 320 milligrams for women and 400 to 420 milligrams for men. Too high an intake of a magnesium supplement can cause diarrhea and could even be toxic. If you have kidney disease or heart disease, check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements.

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