The majority of people have trouble sleeping. Whether its sleep quality, sleep duration, or just falling asleep, breaking the cycle and getting high quality restfulness can be hard. Magnesium has proven to be one of the best supplements for sleep. However, with so many types and variations of magnesium to choose from, how do you know what form of magnesium is the best for sleep? Impaired sleep quality and sleep duration can have a dramatic impact upon your metabolic and cardiovascular systems, not to mention overall quality of life. We’re going to investigate the differences and find out what the science says, to find the best form of magnesium for sleep.
Magnesium is a common mineral, essential for overall human health involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium is an essential cofactor for many enzymatic reactions especially those that are involved in energy metabolism, and neurotransmitter synthesis.
Studies have shown that magnesium supplements have been linked to numerous health benefits, including the ability to fight inflammation, improving immunity health, relieving constipation, improving sleep quality, and lowering blood pressure.
Although the direct mechanism of how magnesium influences sleep, is not fully understood, researchers believe that magnesium has an essential role in ion channel conductivity, such as N-Methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor, and unilateral entrance of potassium channels.
Magnesium has an essential role in the neural transmission both in the pre and post synaptic membrane, as a natural agonist of NMDA and GABA which play a crucial role in sleep regulation [R].
Magnesium also plays a role in activating the para-sympathetic nervous system, which is the system to help you calm down and relax. In order to fall asleep and stay asleep, your body and mind need to be relaxed. This is why anxiolytic ingredients and adaptogens such as theanine, valerian, and ashwagandha help regulate sleep so well.
Studies also indicate that magnesium regulates the hormone melatonin, helping guide your sleep cycle [R].
Magnesium deficiencies have been linked to those that have less quality sleep, shorter sleep time, and decreased melatonin concentration. As you age, magnesium levels decline, putting you at major risk for magnesium deficiency. A 2012 study showed that 500 mg of magnesium taken daily for 8 weeks, significantly improved sleep time, sleep efficiency, and enhanced REM [R].
Surveys suggest that 42% of the elderly population may suffer from major sleep disorders aged 60 and above. Insomnia is not necessarily an investable consequence of aging; however, its prevalence does increase with age. Other studies have been replicated that show magnesium deficiencies are directly related to inadequate sleep quality and insomnia [R]. Optimal levels of magnesium are needed through diet or supplementation in order to derive normal sleep patterns.
An animal study investigating the effects of a magnesium deficient diet on sleep, found that after 9 weeks of a magnesium deficient diet, sleep analysis revealed a significant increase of wakefulness, slow wave sleep patterns, disorganized sleep and suboptimal sleep quality. When Magnesium was re-introduced into the diet, normal sleep patterns were immediately restored [R].
If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are several forms of magnesium to choose from. All forms of magnesium will help in some capacity with regulating GABA to help achieve restful sleep, as well as increasing serum blood levels of magnesium. However, some forms of magnesium are better than others when it comes to sleep and sleep quality.
Without question, magnesium glycinate is the best form of magnesium for sleep. Magnesium glycinate is a combination of magnesium and the non-essential sleep-inducing amino acid, glycine. Glycine like GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and acts as an excitatory modulator of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of ionotropic glutamate receptors. As one of the best absorbing forms of magnesium, studies have shown that glycine improves sleep quality and promotes healthy sleep patterns and REM cycles [R]. This is the exact reason why we include 400mg of Magnesium Glycine in our sleep and strength supplement ZMT.
Magnesium citrate is more commonly used to treat occasional constipation and is classified as a saline laxative. Studies also suggest that magnesium citrate may also help with muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome [R].
Magnesium chloride is a combination of one magnesium and two chloride ions. The compound is used in medicine as a source of magnesium ions, which are essential for many cellular activities. Though magnesium chloride only contains around 12 percent elemental magnesium, it has an impressive absorption rate and is the best form of magnesium to take for detoxing the cells and tissues.
Magnesium oxide is an inorganic salt of magnesium formed with ions of magnesium and oxygen. Magnesium oxide like all other forms of magnesium is used as a supplement to maintain adequate magnesium in the body. Magnesium oxide is also used as an antacid to treat indigestion, or as a laxative to relieve occasional constipation.
Magnesium sulfate is a naturally occurring mineral used to increase serum blood levels of magnesium. Magnesium sulfate injection is also used for pediatric acute nephritis and to prevent seizures in severe pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, or toxemia of pregnancy.
Magnesium chelate is in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. Chelated magnesium is used as a supplement to maintain adequate magnesium in the body. Chelated magnesium like other forms of magnesium will also help with sleep, immune health and reduce blood pressure.
Studies suggest a dosage of 320-400 milligrams per day to improve sleep, sleep duration, and sleep quality.
Magnesium may cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other possible effects. Large doses of magnesium may cause high blood serum levels to build in the body, causing serious side effects including irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, misperception, slowed breathing, coma, and death.
Getting enough quality sleep, is essential for optimal productivity and improved quality of life. Studies show that magnesium deficiency is linked to poor sleep quality, duration, and sleep efficiency. Magnesium can improve sleep quality, by stimulating GABA and melatonin productivity, as a direct mediator in sleep regulation. Research also suggests that glycine, a sleep inducing amino acid, acts as an excitatory modulator of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), improves sleep quality and promotes healthy sleep patterns and REM cycles. Therefore, Magnesium glycinate is by far and away the best form of magnesium for high quality ZZzzs.
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Depoortere H, Françon D, Llopis J. Effects of a magnesium-deficient diet on sleep organization in rats. Neuropsychobiology. 1993;27(4):237-45. doi: 10.1159/000118988. PMID: 8232845.