Can taking magnesium improve your sleep?

According to a survey by the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleep-related problems affect 50 to 70 million Americans. With insomnia and sleep deprivation at an all-time high, many are turning to solutions such as magnesium for sleep.

Magnesium helps boost energy, reduce stress, and improve gut health, but how does magnesium actually link to sleep? This nutrient plays a large role in sleep regulation. Current research shows that additional magnesium can help the body relax and even improve symptoms of insomnia.

Health experts recommend adults take in 300 to 420 milligrams of magnesium daily. The appropriate amount depends on your sex, age, and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Without magnesium supplements, as many as 48 percent of Americans do not get enough daily magnesium, according to the Sleep Foundation. If you are interested in using magnesium as a natural sleep aid, talk to your doctor about whether it might work for you.

Certain groups are at higher risk for insufficient magnesium levels, including older adults, teens, people with Type 2 diabetes and people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol.

You can find magnesium in leafy green vegetables like spinach, as well as nuts like cashews and almonds, yogurt and milk, and whole grains like brown rice.

Research shows that magnesium may help improve insomnia symptoms. In a study of elderly patients with insomnia, taking 500 mg of magnesium daily for eight weeks improved many subjective and objective measures of insomnia.

Magnesium and melatonin have different functions in your body. Magnesium is a nutrient that regulates different body processes, while melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep patterns. The supplement you should take ultimately depends on your goals for sleep. Magnesium helps the body relax. This nutrient reduces stress and helps you sleep longer. In contrast, melatonin helps you get to sleep faster. Both magnesium and melatonin can be used to treat insomnia, sometimes even in combination.

Always consult with your healthcare provider to determine which supplement is right for you.

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