Despite adults worldwide recognising that sleep has a major impact on their overall health and wellbeing, more than one in five people in the UK struggle to fall asleep every night.
Each month, there are nearly 30,000 Google searches for people looking at ways to help their sleep troubles and over the last five years the NHS has seen an increase of almost 150 per cent in insomnia medication prescriptions of melatonin, demonstrating that Brits are seeking help to improve their sleep.
Here, Harley Street Nutritionist, Kim Pearson, identifies three reasons why supplementing magnesium could be the key to achieving good quality sleep naturally.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, required for hundreds of biochemical reactions. As well as playing key roles in energy production and protein synthesis, magnesium is important for heart, brain and muscle function – in addition to bone health.
This super mineral is particularly important when it comes to sleep and studies suggest that suboptimal magnesium intake can interfere with your sleep quality and promote insomnia.
So, if you’re having trouble getting the requisite eight hours, here are three reasons why magnesium is the supplement to help you get a better night’s sleep.
It Helps You Relax
An overactive brain is a common culprit when it comes to keeping us up all night. Supplementing magnesium could aid the relaxation process by regulating the parasympathetic nervous system, or in other words, your calm centre.
An essential mineral, magnesium also acts as a calcium blocker. Calcium and magnesium both bind with the same proteins in our muscles and a build-up of calcium can lead to contractions or twitches which can impact your sleep. In fact, magnesium deficiency can cause muscle pain and even spasms.
Magnesium works with other essential minerals within the body to keep muscles relaxed and control contractions, so supplementing is a good idea if overworked muscles have the potential to come between you and a good night’s sleep.
It Helps Regulate Sleep Quality
Magnesium may impact neurotransmitters, sending signals throughout the nervous system to help quieten down nerve activity. This can help you to achieve a restful night with a deeper sleep.
In one study of older adults with insomnia, those who supplemented with magnesium had a better quality of sleep than those who did not. This was believed to be down to the mineral’s effect on calming the nervous system and allowing for a more restful night’s sleep.
It Can Support Mental Health
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, these conditions could be negatively impacting your sleep. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with the increased likelihood of anxiety and depression, with some studies suggesting that the mineral may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and enhance conventional treatments.
One study investigating the use of magnesium in treatment-resistant depression concluded that since inadequate brain magnesium appears to reduce serotonin levels, and since anti-depressants have been shown to have the action of raising brain magnesium, we hypothesize that magnesium treatment will be found beneficial for nearly all depressives.
Taking a warm bath with magnesium flakes or massaging your skin with a magnesium body oil or lotion before bed are great ways to top-up your levels of this sleep-boosting supplement.