Magnesium is a mineral known for supporting immune system health, regulating blood sugar levels, and supporting nerve and muscle function. But can magnesium help you with getting a good night’s sleep?
According to some scientists, the lack of this mineral could cause sleep disturbances. This is because magnesium deficiency is believed to disrupt nerve signaling and alter melatonin levels, leading to poor sleep.
However, magnesium deficiency is quite a rare occurrence since this mineral is widespread and easy to get if you follow a relatively balanced diet. It’s found in both plant-based and animal-sourced foods such as fish, yogurt, beans, seeds, vegetables, and nuts.
Over time, various studies have focused on the effect of magnesium supplements on sleep. However, a systematic review and meta-analysis conducted in the spring showed little evidence to support the claim that magnesium supplementation can improve sleep quality in seniors.
It concluded that most studies conducted were, unfortunately, either too poorly designed or too small to produce representative results, making it challenging to draw valid conclusions. Therefore, at present, there’s limited evidence linking magnesium with improved sleep.
A 2012 study examining 46 elderly people with chronic insomnia reported improvements in “subjective” parameters (how quickly they fell asleep, etc.) upon supplementing with magnesium. However, there were no significant changes in the total sleep time or differences between the total sleep times of placebo and magnesium supplementation groups.
The participants were divided into two groups (magnesium supplementation and placebo group), and the magnesium group was prescribed 500 mg of magnesium a day for eight weeks.
It’s interesting to note that the inconclusive study results weakly linking magnesium to improved sleep didn’t discourage people from using it. Some medical professionals still suggest sleep disorder patients (restless legs, etc.) try it since, even if it doesn’t help, it won’t cause any harm.
Namely, magnesium supplements are unlikely to cause adverse effects when taken in low doses (up to 350 mg a day for healthy adults). Only higher doses can lead to particular gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea.
All in all, chronic insomnia certainly isn’t a condition that can be cured with one pill. Therefore, since it’s still unclear whether magnesium OTC supplementation could be the right solution, cognitive behavioral therapy remains one of the best solutions for this condition for now.