We take sleep for granted—until we start losing it! The inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night is an indicator of insomnia. Because different people need different amounts of sleep, insomnia is defined by the quality of your sleep and how you feel after sleeping—not the number of hours you sleep or how quickly you doze off. Even if you’re spending eight hours a night in bed, if you feel drowsy and fatigued during the day, you may be experiencing insomnia.
There are countless causes of insomnia and many of them are due to a magnesium deficiency. In fact, most individuals burn what little available or dietary magnesium they have during their stressful day and then, at night, when the body requires additional magnesium to perform essential biological functions, the body remains awake and restless as it requires additional magnesium to sleep.
Insomnia is actually one of the first symptoms to be alleviated with magnesium supplementation and even people who sleep well report deeper, more satisfying sleep when they are saturating their body with magnesium. There is a saying in magnesium circles that the mineral is so effective that if a person complains that magnesium isn’t helping them sleep, then they just haven’t taken enough.
There is a long list of magnesium wasters and insomnia inducers that are interwoven – numerous medications, caffeine, alcohol, heart disease, pounding heartbeat, night time cortisol surges, RLS [restless leg syndrome], pain, hormone shifts, fear, stress, anxiety/worry, heartburn, constipation, depression, dementia, OCD, ADHD, arthritis, and poor recovery from either provoke or indicate a magnesium deficiency.
There are many sleep studies that confirm the effectiveness of magnesium supplementation. Because doctors are inundated with pharmaceutical sales representatives, they don’t have to time pour through the published research on effective magnesium supplementation so their patients are more likely to get a drug than an effective highly absorbed magnesium product to alleviate their sleeplessness. If a doctor does recommend a magnesium product they reference magnesium oxide, which may partially work but usually causes an extreme laxative effect, and often the patient discontinues the treatment.
How does magnesium help us sleep? Twitchy, restless, tense muscles keep you from falling into a deep sleep. Tight muscles make you hyper-alert and irritable, and in that condition, any noise or even an active dream will wake you up. Magnesium relaxes tight, twitchy muscles so you can reach a deeper level of sleep. There are many other mechanisms for which the body requires magnesium to sleep deeply, some of which are outlined here:
- GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system, and so activation of GABA(A) receptors favors sleep. Magnesium binds to GABA gates and increases their effects. 
- As mentioned above, one sleep study reported on magnesium-deficiency-induced, anxiety-like behavior in mice, which were then treated with sleep meds. 
- Research on magnesium and sleep shows that oral magnesium reverses age-related neuroendocrine and sleep EEG changes.
- Magnesium supplementation improves magnesium deficiency symptoms and inflammatory stress in older adults (over age fifty-one) with poor sleep.
- Magnesium reduces heart rate response to sympathetic nervous stimulation, to exercise, and to sleep problems.
- Two studies showed that chronic sleep deprivation reduces intracellular magnesium, increases heart rate, and raises plasma catecholamines.
- A study found that dietary magnesium deficiency decreases plasma melatonin in rats.
Tonight, we’ll talk with Dr. Carolyn Dean about Insomnia – Daytime Deficiencies that May Cause Nighttime Distress – along with a wide range of health topics and safe solutions. You will love hearing the beneficial interactions with our callers and hosts alike including the body/mind connection, identifying the ‘conflict’ in the ‘conflict basis’ of disease and much more!!