As March 6 – 13th is National Sleep Awareness Week, it’s a great time to talk about sleep and magnesium is my go to “miracle” for this. If you are having difficulty going to sleep, find you wake easily or wake in the early hours then you may be deficient.

The miracle mineral

It is not always about magnesium but I always refer to it as the miracle mineral as I have great results in my practice when I add a magnesium supplement to my clients programmes.

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I always prefer to increase magnesium containing foods but in many cases people are so deficient that the only way to “catch up” is to supplement.

The benefits of magnesium

Magnesium is vital for the function of our GABA receptors, these are found across all areas of the brain and nervous system. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter that the brains needs in order to switch off. You need GABA in order to sleep.

Without it we remain tense, our thoughts race and we lie in bed trying to count sheep in order to go to sleep without success.

Magnesium is the relaxation mineral and is crucial for sleep, at night we need magnesium to move into our cells for relaxation and great quality sleep.

Magnesium deficiency

A sign of magnesium deficiency is if you have anything that is tight or stiff, irritable, you can’t relax or if you have cramps anywhere – this can be internally or externally.

In fact it is estimated that 96% of the population is deficient in magnesium, and are more likely to have elevated inflammation markers.

Inflammation is linked to all major health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and low magnesium is a risk for osteoporosis and these can all affect our sleep as well as many other parts of our lives.

The importance of magnesium

Magnesium is crucial to the body’s function and is responsible for over 500 enzyme reactions, it is found in all the tissues in the body. As mentioned, it is essential to help muscles relax, which is why it is a miracle mineral for sleep.

Magnesium also helps to keep blood pressure normal, bones strong and the heart rhythm steady.

The list of conditions related to magnesium deficiency is staggering; there are over 3,500 medical references on magnesium deficiency.

Anything from headaches and migraines to chronic fatigue, diabetes and IBS can be linked to magnesium deficiency and these illnesses will also in turn impact our quality of sleep

You might be magnesium deficient if you have any of the following symptoms:

• Insomnia
Anxiety
• Muscle cramps or twitches
• Irritability
• Sensitivity to loud noises
• ADD
• Palpitations
• Constipation
• Fibromyalgia
• Chronic fatigue
• Asthma
• Diabetes
• Obesity
• Osteoporosis
• High blood pressure
• PMS
Menstrual cramps
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Reflux
• Trouble swallowing
• Trouble sleeping
• Headaches

magnesium sleep benefits_2Why are we magnesium deficient?

The reason we are so deficient is that many of us eat a diet that contains practically no magnesium. Processed, refined and packaged foods, white flour, meat, and dairy contain no magnesium and if this is what your diet consist of then you will be deficient in magnesium as none of these foods contain magnesium.

Even eating a whole foods diet can leave you magnesium deficient as our soils are now depleted and don’t have the correct levels of minerals such as magnesium in them.

Our magnesium levels are decreased by:

• alcohol
• salt
• coffee
• phosphoric acid in fizzy drinks
• prolonged or intense stress
• antibiotics and other drugs

On top of that if this is the type of diet and lifestyle you are leading then your gut is probably compromised, reducing your ability to absorb magnesium.

To properly absorb magnesium we need a lot of it in our diet and we need enough vitamin B6, vitamin D, and selenium to absorb and utilise the magnesium.

But don’t stress there is an easy fix…

How to increase magnesium levels in your body

Stop Magnesium leaving your body by:

Eliminating caffeine, fizzy drinks, salt and sugar, limiting alcohol and making sure you take time out for relaxation. Following these guidelines will also help you sleep better.

Include Foods High in Magnesium in your diet:

• Leafy Green Vegetables including parsley
• Seaweed: Kelp and dulse
• Brown Rice
• Figs and Dates
Avocado
• Garlic
• Nuts: almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, pecans and walnuts

magnesium sleep benefits_3According to guidelines the minimum amount needed of magnesium is about 300 mg a day but in reality most of us get far less than 200 mg and we actually benefit from at least 400 and up to 1000mg per day, depending on your circumstances.

Taking a hot bath with Epsom salts is a great way to absorb and get a good amount of this much needed mineral, add in a few drops of lavender oil and you have the perfect way to relax and prepare for a good night’s sleep.

Do you struggle with your sleep?

Do you suffer from any of the symptoms I’ve mentioned?

Do you think you may benefit from a magnesium supplement?

As with all things the type of supplements you take can make a huge difference and we need to ensure that if we are supplementing we are getting magnesium in a bio-available form.

If you feel that you need to be supplementing with magnesium and need further help then please connect with me by clicking here, and find out how I can help create a bespoke plan for you, and get you started on your wellness journey straightaway.

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