Magnesium has many proven health benefits, including stress relief, better hydration, lower blood pressure and improved muscle growth and recovery. And some studies show it can also help the quality of sleep. The problem is many of us are deficient in this crucial mineral.
Our great grandparents obtained 500 milligrams of magnesium daily from their diet. Today, our soil has been so depleted of this essential mineral that the amount we normally get from food has been diminished to under 200 milligrams a day.
In addition, the magnesium we do get is also depleted by eating sugar, a stress-filled life, working out too hard, certain medications and caffeine.
Dr. David Friedman, the best-selling author of “Food Sanity, How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction,” tells Newsmax that “magnesium plays a vital role in converting food into energy, protein synthesis, regulating the nervous system and repairing our DNA.”
It also improves sleep. Friedman says that 160 million Americans have trouble sleeping and it could be the result of magnesium deficiency. “This mineral has been used successfully to help people get deep restorative sleep,” he says.
That’s an important benefit since only about 35% of American adults between the ages of 18 and 60 get the required seven or more hours of sleep, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While taking a mineral could help improve the quality of sleep, there’s no substitute for a healthy lifestyle and sound sleep practice to ensure consistency, say experts.
According to USA TODAY, one study found that adults who took 500 milligrams of magnesium before bed had better sleep quality than the participants who took a placebo. The magnesium group also had higher levels of melatonin, the hormone that governs sleep.
Since magnesium also helps relax muscles, it may help with restless legs syndrome that affects sleep quality. While more research needs to be done on how magnesium can help us sleep more soundly, experts say that natural remedies like minerals are safer, won’t cause dependence, and have fewer side effects than other sleep aids, such as sleeping pills.
Since there are many types of magnesium supplements, it is recommended to take magnesium glycinate which is gentle on the stomach says, Josh Redd, of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center. Magnesium citrate is another good option because it relaxes the muscles.
The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommends that adult males get between 400 and 420 milligrams of magnesium daily. Adult females should aim for between 310 and 320 milligrams each day.
The foods richest in this mineral are almonds, peanuts, and cashews, plus seeds, soy milk, and leafy greens such as spinach. The Office of Dietary Supplements says that “too much magnesium from food does not pose a health risk in healthy individuals because the kidneys eliminate excess amounts in the urine.” But the agency cautions that ingesting high doses from supplements or medications could trigger nausea, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea.