Many people have trouble sleeping at some point during their lives – whether it is due to stress from work, having kids, worrying about finances or nothing in particular yet you still struggle to get a good night’s rest. Breaking the seemingly constant cycle of insomnia can be difficult. Popular lifestyle interventions including curbing your caffeine intake or altering your sleep routine are often used in an attempt to making sleeping an easier task. However, for some people these lifestyle alterations do not succeed so using supplements as a sleep aid is becoming more and more popular.
Using Magnesium for Sleep
One such supplement which has gained increasing interest as a potential sleeping aid is magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral for human health that has multiple wide-ranging effects throughout the body being involved in over 600 cellular reactions. It is essential for organ function, contributes to good bone health, relieves muscle tension and has many relaxing qualities. Magnesium helps both your body and brain to relax, which is essential for falling asleep (and staying asleep). On a chemical level, magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is involved in calming and relaxing the body and helping calm the brain and quiet a racing mind. Magnesium regulates neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) which send signals throughout the nervous system and brain, as well as the hormone melatonin which helps regulate sleep-wake cycles.
Magnesium is also able to bind to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps quieten down nerve activity, and is often included in sleep drugs. Magnesium is able to produce similar effects to GABA by binding to the GABA receptors, quieting the nervous system and helping to prepare the body and mind for sleep. As well as helping you to drop off initially, using magnesium for sleep also helps with achieving a deep and restful sleep.
In addition to improving sleep efficiency, sleep onset, sleep time and aiding in early morning awakening, Magnesium has also been suggested to help alleviate symptoms of mood disorders including anxiety and depression. Both of these disorders can have a negative impact of sleep, partly due to the overactivity of the nervous system. How magnesium helps manage anxiety and depression isn't yet well understood, although it may be linked to the calming effects magnesium has on the nervous system.
Magnesium supplements have been shown to be simple and effective at improving sleep, particularly transdermal magnesium therapy which is rapidly absorbed and better tolerated compared to oral supplements. Salt lab has a particularly effective magnesium oil for sleep that you can apply directly to your skin, rubbing it into your palms, feet or aching muscles before bed. As well as making your skin smooth and soft, it will help your mind and body relax making it that much easier to drift off to the land of nod (and stay there for the night!). Using Salt Lab's magnesium spray for sleep regularly may also help with the treatment of insomnia.