By Judy Phillips – Master Herbalist
When the things that “go bump in the night” seem like sonic booms and wake you from sleep, the problem could be magnesium deficiency. Among its many important qualities, magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system. In fact, magnesium has recently received considerable attention as an inexpensive dietary supplement that can resolve and alleviate many sleep disturbances.
To date, over 200 published clinical studies document the importance of magnesium. Many of these studies were completed within the last decade, supporting the theory that changes in the American diet have further depleted our bodies’ reserves of magnesium.
Magnesium is considered the “anti-stress” mineral and is a natural tranquilizer. In the elderly, magnesium supplements were found to improve sleep by decreasing the release of cortisol, a known cause of sleep disruption. Stress depletes magnesium and magnesium relieves stress. When your magnesium levels are low, your nervous system gets out of balance, and you feel on edge, naturally resulting in tightening muscles.
Although we expect sleep to relax us, when magnesium levels are low, it may not. When we sleep, muscle groups move and stretch, in preparation for the next day’s activity. However, magnesium works with the calcium in our bodies to help our muscles first contract and then relax again. Muscles contract with the help of stored calcium. Magnesium is the mineral that helps them relax. Without enough magnesium, muscles are unable to relax fully after contraction and nighttime muscle cramps develop, causing another sleep disruption.
Studies suggest that magnesium deficiency may also be one of the causes of insomnia, a condition that is experienced by an estimated one out of two Americans. Magnesium eases anxiety, relaxes muscles and nerves resulting in an overall improvement of your night’s sleep.
Several studies show a lack of magnesium can alter electrical activity in the brain, causing agitated sleep and frequent awakenings. “It looks like magnesium is important for a good night’s sleep,” says USDA researcher Forrest H. Nielsen.
A water-soluble magnesium powder like Natural Calm can alleviate, if not eliminate, all of these problems and help you sleep restfully throughout the night.
About the author:
Judy Phillips is a Master Herbalist with over 25 years of experience with alternative healing and herbalism.