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Does Magnesium Help You Sleep?

Studies have found a link between low levels of magnesium, an essential mineral that is important for a wide range of bodily processes, and sleep disorders.

Magnesium deficiency has been associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety and difficulty relaxing, which are key ingredients to getting good sleep at night” said Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a professor of pulmonary and sleep medicine at the University of Southern California. He noted that magnesium interacts with an important neurotransmitter that favors sleep.

Magnesium is found in both plant and animal-based foods, and the kidneys limit urinary excretion of magnesium, so deficiencies are uncommon in healthy people with a balanced diet. Good sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains, while fish, chicken and beef contain less. Those without a healthy adequate amount of magnesium are at risk, especially older adults, and people with certain disorders.

A small double-blinded clinical trial of 43 elderly people in Tehran found that those who received the supplement fell asleep faster and spent more time in bed asleep, but their total sleep time was not necessarily longer. Another study also found that those who took the supplement had reduced restless leg syndrome symptoms.

If you think you might have a magnesium deficiency or want to take magnesium supplements, consult your doctor first. But if you are concerned you aren’t getting enough magnesium, changing your diet may be a better option than taking a supplement, noted by Dr. Raj Dasgupta.

Source: The New York Yimes