Magnesium for Sleep and Cramps – Does it work?

Is Magnesium good for helping with Sleep and Cramps? We take a science-based look at this essential mineral to find out

Sleeping woman
Magnesium is claimed to help with Sleep Photo: Adobe Stock

Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body needs in trace amounts in order to function properly. It has a range of uses in the body, and has also been linked to helping with sleep and cramps.

But what does the science say about Magnesium and it’s potential benefits when it comes to helping with things such as sleep and cramps?

The purpose of this article is for us to take a detailed look at Magnesium and examine the role it plays in the human body. We’re also going to pay particular attention to what the science says about the possibility of Magnesium being able to help with sleep and cramps.

We’re going to break this article into the following sections:

• What is Magnesium?
• Magnesium for Sleep
• Magnesium for Cramps
• Other Magnesium benefits
• What’s the best dose of Magnesium?
• Anything else to consider?
• Conclusion

So, now that we’ve set out what we’re going cover in this article, let’s start taking an evidence-based look at Magnesium from all angles.

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body needs in small amounts for survival.

Good sources of Magnesium from the diet include leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes and beans, plus some meats.

Magnesium is what’s known as a ‘cofactor’ in more than 300 enzyme systems in the body. It plays a role in regulating protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.

Magnesium is also required for energy production and oxidative phosphorylation.

Despite it being an important part of a healthy diet, many people do not get enough Magnesium from food intake.

It is estimated that around 68 per cent of adults in the USA eat less than the recommended intake of Magnesium – and 19 per cent eat less than half of the recommended intake.

For this reason, Magnesium supplements are readily available for people looking to ensure that their body gets enough of this essential mineral.

It’s a common ingredient alongside Zinc in products such as testosterone booster supplements, because it’s believed to play a role in helping to support normal hormone production.

So, now that we’ve covered some of the basics about Magnesium, it’s time to start taking a closer look at this mineral and its potential to help with sleep.

Magnesium for sleep

Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body needs for survivalPhoto: Adobe Stock

Magnesium for Sleep

You may have already heard about the touted benefits of Magnesium for Sleep. But now we’re going to look at what the science says to see if there is any actual evidence to back up these claims.

The short answer as to whether Magnesium can help with Sleep is probably.

There is at least some evidence to suggest that Magnesium does play a role in helping with Sleep, and that’s believed to be because it has a sedative-like effect.

One scientific study from 2002 conducted with elderly subjects found that supplementing with Magnesium over 20 days led to a notable 63.3 per cent increase in slow-wave sleep and reduced sleeping Cortisol levels, which seemed to help promote normal sleep patterns.

Another study from 2012 found that supplementing with Magnesium appeared to help lower insomnia.

In addition to this, it has also been suggested that not getting enough Magnesium from your diet could lead to troubled sleep.

So, the bottom line here is that Magnesium is likely to play at least a small role in helping to support better Sleep. More research is needed to confirm this theory, however.

Magnesium for Cramps

Now, you may have also heard that Magnesium is good for helping with muscle cramps.

Indeed, Magnesium is often marketed as a supplement to help with cramping. But what does the science really say about this? Let’s take a look.

The simple answer to this is that the evidence that Magnesium can help with muscle cramps is mixed.

The reason why Magnesium supplementation is often touted as a way to reduce muscle cramps is because there is thought to be a correlation between higher incidences of muscle cramping in pregnant women who have reduced serum Magnesium levels.

One study from 2011 found that supplementing with Magnesium did not reduce the frequency of leg cramps in a group of older adult rest cramp sufferers.

That study concluded that “Magnesium therapy is not indicated for the treatment of rest cramps in a geriatric population”.

That being said, in another study from 2002, 78 per cent of the participants reported significant improvements in leg cramping after supplementing with 300mg of Magnesium Citrate daily for six weeks.

So, the bottom line here is that Magnesium could be beneficial for helping to reduce muscle cramping, but the truth is that there is only limited evidence to confirm this at this stage.

Other Magnesium benefits

As we briefly covered above, Magnesium plays a vital role in a number of bodily processes.

Magnesium helps with the following things:

• Helps to turn the food you eat into energy
• Ensures that the Parathyroid glands work normally
• Helps with the structural development of bone
• Needed for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and a key antioxidant called Glutathione

So in case you haven’t already worked it out yet, Magnesium is a key mineral that you should always ensure that you’re getting enough of from your diet.

What’s the best dose of Magnesium?

The general recommended doses for Magnesium supplementation usually range from between 200mg to 400mg.

In the United Kingdom, the Recommended Daily Intake amounts of Magnesium for men and women aged 19 to 64 years old are as follows:

• 300mg a day for Men
• 270mg a day for Women

According to Examine.com, you should be able to fix a Magnesium deficiency through changing your diet and without supplementation.

Anything else to consider?

As always, you should consult your doctor before thinking about supplementing with Magnesium or any other substance.

As we mentioned above, most people should be able to correct a Magnesium deficiency through dietary changes.

It’s important to remember that you should always make healthy lifestyle choices before thinking about supplementing with any substance.

That means making sure that your diet is healthy and that you’re exercising regularly, plus also that you’re getting enough rest.

You should really only think about supplementation if you’ve already got the basics sorted.

Conclusion

That brings us to the end of our look at Magnesium for Sleep and Cramps.

We’ve taken a close look at Magnesium as an essential mineral and the important role it plays in a number of processes in your body.

There is at least some scientific evidence to suggest that Magnesium will be able to help with Sleep.

In terms of Magnesium and Cramping, there is some limited evidence to suggest that it may help, but not enough to draw a concrete conclusion.

Overall, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re getting enough Magnesium to support your overall health.

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BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard

BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Sturridge

↺ Article History
This article was last updated on December 05, 2018.
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