Magnesium, even in its cheapest and worse-absorbing by our body version, i.e. in the form of magnesium oxide, improves sleep quality. It is cheap, has no side-effects and its effectiveness was proven in the study carried out by the researchers from Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Teheran, Iran.
Magnesium and sleep quality - overview
The influence of magnesium on the nervous system and sleep is not fully known, but magnesium has an influence on regulating excitability of the nervous system. It is a natural NMDA antagonist and GABA antagonist, thanks to which it seems to play a key role in sleep regulation.
Magnesium and sleep quality - clinical studies
In the study, the Iranians administered tablets with magnesium to the group of 46 elderly people, at the average age of 65, who suffered from insomnia. Magnesium was applied two times a day for eight weeks. Each tablet contained 414 mg of magnesium oxide (250 mg of magnesium). In comparison to the placebo group, the group supplemented with magnesium experienced statistically significant sleep improvement.
The time of sleep increased by 36 minutes, the effectiveness of sleep was also slightly increased and the time of morning wakeup was delayed. The time of falling asleep was shortened by 12 minutes. Melatonin and renin levels increased significantly and cortisol level dropped. After eight weeks the participants also reported lower sleepiness during the day.
Magnesium and sleep quality - conclusion
The obtained results of magnesium supplementation increased sleep quality among people suffering from insomnia, but did not eliminate the problem. It has to be borne in mind that the subjects were administered the worse-absorbable magnesium form (bioavailability of magnesium oxide is around 4%). Therefore, the question arises, what score would be achieved, if a better absorbing supplement was used (assimilability of e.g. magnesium lactate or magnesium citrate is ca. 90%), if the supplementation lasted longer or if higher magnesium doses were used.
Magnesium is the fourth most popular cation in the human body and the second most substantial intracellular cation. It takes part in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It is a principal cofactor in many enzymatic reactions, especially those, which are engaged in energy metabolism and neurotransmitters synthesis.
Despite the huge role than magnesium plays in physiology, its intake is insufficient almost in all modern societies. The people most prone to magnesium deficits are elderly people, however, research show that the organism does not lower its need for magnesium with age. Certain changes in magnesium metabolism are connected to age: lower use of magnesium, decreased intestinal absorption, increased excreting with feces and urine and also metabolic changes caused by side effects of drugs.
One of the studies carried out in Iran proved that 95% of the subjects had magnesium deficits. The deficits is often caused also by badly prepared supplementation. Mostly, form of magnesium choosen for supplementation isn't optimal. But don't worry, we have prepared a ranking of best magnesium forms out there!
Source: The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9.