Insomnia is a problem that affects many people and that interferes with the development of daily life. Among the measures that can be taken for mild cases, is the intake of magnesium.
Millions of people in the world suffer from insomnia. Especially those over 55, although it can be present at all ages. Stress, bad sleep habits or nighttime caffeine and alcohol consumption are the causes. Magnesium appears as a possible natural solution to improve sleep.
Is that insomnia not only affects when you want to fall asleep, but also the next day and the following days. It is possible to feel constant tiredness that causes irritability and worsens work performance.
Magnesium is a mineral used for mild cases of insomnia. Although there is no unanimous scientific support regarding the treatment, the beneficial effects of this element for the body are proven.
How does insomnia appear?
Sleep disorders affect more than half of the population over 55 years of age. Something that does not exempt people of any age from suffering it. It is about the difficulty to reconcile or maintain rest and can occur in different ways.
On the one hand, in the short term (it lasts a few days or weeks) it is associated with traumatic events. On the other, in the long term, it lasts for more than a month.
Initiating sleep may be a problem, often taking more than 30 minutes to sleep. Also that frequent awakenings are generated, that is, that we cannot stay asleep. Finally, there are people who wake up very early, before reaching the recommended 7 or 8 hours of sleep.
Causes and effects in everyday life
Insomnia can be due to multiple causes, ranging from a particular traumatic event to constant bad sleep habits. Excessive nighttime eating also plays a role, as does the consumption of nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. In older adults, the problem is related to memory loss and cognitive decline.
The short and medium term effects affect the usual development of daily activities. It can worsen work or school performance, reduce quick reactions to driving, and cause a constant state of irritability and tiredness.
On the other hand, your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and anxiety disorders may increase. So a state of chronic insomnia should be treated with a professional doctor.
In mild cases, some techniques can help, such as bathing before bed and avoiding screens for at least an hour before bed. It is important to get into the habit of going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.
In addition, the importance of having a healthy diet for falling asleep is proven. This includes the indicated intake of magnesium, an element present in many foods.
What is magnesium and what is it for?
Magnesium is a mineral that can influence sleep and is essential for human nutrition. It intervenes in the functioning of the body through its action on various tissues. It participates in more than 300 chemical reactions, while its optimal levels are associated with the following:
- Immune health protection.
- Regulation of the amount of sugar in the blood.
- Participation in energy production.
- Contributions to the nervous system and muscle development.
- Collaboration in the development of bones.
Consequences of a low magnesium level
A shortage of magnesium can alter the levels of melatonin, the hormone associated with the induction of sleep. It is for this reason that it is linked to the problem of insomnia.
Although not a common situation, low magnesium levels are also linked to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and some heart disease.
How does magnesium help fight insomnia?
Magnesium is a tempting solution because it is available to everyone, it is natural, and it is inexpensive. Doctors do not advise against it; some even recommend it in a complementary way and many people claim to have good results. The levels of this mineral are usually sufficient in the body, because they are present in common foods.
These include green leafy vegetables, especially spinach and broccoli, legumes, nuts, bananas, yogurt, and fish. Also in drinks like coffee and water. However, the body does not produce magnesium naturally, so it must be ingested daily.
Some scientific studies indicated that the intake of this mineral in adults with severe insomnia problems improved their conditions at the time of initiating sleep. But there is no conclusive evidence to prove it clearly.
Reasons magnesium is recommended
Many doctors decide to prescribe regulated doses of magnesium because it does not usually have side effects in the body. Some people claim that it helps them with their insomnia problem and some scientific evidence supports it. The intake should not exceed 400 milligrams daily.
However, professionals suggest that it is best to incorporate it through food and a healthy diet. People with diabetes, digestive problems and older adults may have more difficulties with their intake. For this reason, there are supplements in pills, powder, and even chewable tablets.
Contribution to the nervous system
Some effects of magnesium in the body are proven, such as improving the correct transmission of signals in the nervous system. This mineral binds to neurotransmitters responsible for regulating activity, thus helping to produce calming and relaxing effects.
In this sense, many doctors advise it for people with anxiety problems and restless legs, that is, those who cannot stop moving their lower extremities. This is usually another cause that leads to insomnia.
Stress and anxiety
Low magnesium levels are associated with stress and anxiety, leading to worse sleep at night. For its combat, the intake of 200 to 400 milligrams daily is recommended.
In addition, magnesium helps to improve headaches and lower back pain. However, this should be carried out with a prior medical consultation, as excessive intake can cause diarrhea or nausea.
Magnesium plays an important role in the transit of certain proteins towards their conversion into chemicals that generate sleep and relaxation. The mineral is associated with increased levels of dopamine, which is why it is often recommended to improve mood and combat symptoms of mild depression.
With regard to insomnia, its most important task is the regulation of melatonin, a hormone responsible for driving the sleep-wake cycles. This is why some doctors suggest magnesium as the mildest, most natural treatment for poor sleep.
Possible contraindications of magnesium for sleep problems
Despite being a natural mineral and with few side effects, it is important to take into account certain contraindications and interactions. For example, antibiotics and muscle relaxants can have their action altered if they are consumed in parallel with the mineral.
Prior consultation with a professional is recommended, who can adjust the doses if necessary. Especially for people who have prescribed some drugs or have any health condition.