Is magnesium better than melatonin for sleep? Magnesium has many benefits for good health, one of them being its action as an effective natural sleep aid.
Melatonin supplements are also used as a sleep remedy. These two ingredients have different qualities, different health effects, and different possible side effects.
James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients magnesium and calcium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”
In contrast with mineral supplements, melatonin is a hormone which is produced by the pineal gland, located in the center of the brain. At night or in the dark, the pineal gland naturally releases melatonin to regulate the sleep cycle.
The body produces less melatonin with advancing age and while melatonin doesn’t require a prescription, it’s a potent hormone. It can help with sleeplessness. If too much is taken, it can result in grogginess, dizziness, stomach cramps and make it more difficult to wake up in the morning.
Is it better to take magnesium at night? One of the main symptoms of magnesium deficiency is chronic insomnia, accompanied with with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep, per a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota. Another study from the Human Nutrition Research Center found that a magnesium citrate supplement increased sleep quality in adults aged 51 to 85.
Magnesium has hundreds of health effects in the body. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center web site, inadequate magnesium appears to reduce serotonin levels in the brain. One study found that magnesium was just as effective as an antidepressant drug in treating depression.
In addition, researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute reported that for every 100 milligram increase in magnesium intake, the risk of developing type-2 diabetes decreased by 15 per cent. Other studies have shown that people with migraine headaches have low concentrations of magnesium in their body.
Mildred Seelig, M.D., the leading medical researcher on magnesium says: “Many people needlessly suffer pain – including … migraines and muscle cramps – because they don’t get enough magnesium.”
Which form of magnesium is best for sleep? A recent study on magnesium for sleep came from the University of Medical Sciences in Iran. Its subjects were 46 older adults, aged 60 to 75, who were experiencing insomnia. However, it’s interesting to note that the researchers recommend their results be extended to all ages of the general population as helpful advice.
In the University study, the subjects were divided into two groups. One group received placebos, while the other received magnesium oxide tablets twice a day (250 milligrams each) for eight weeks. In the group that was given magnesium, the subjects experienced significant increases in sleep time and sleep efficiency (which is the time spent in bed vs the time spent sleeping). They also had less night time interruptions and fewer early morning awakenings. Magnesium citrate is another form that has been proven helpful for better sleep.
One possible side effect from taking too much magnesium is that the bowels may become too loose or stomach discomfort can occur — at which point less can be taken. If this side effect happens, magnesium should be taken with a full meal or a healthy snack.
Another important nutritional tip that can help to avoid any deficiencies is to balance magnesium with calcium and vitamin D rather than taking it alone. The recommended ratio is 2 to 1 or twice as much calcium as magnesium.
According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects of melatonin include stomach cramps, anxiety, irritability, confusion and short-term depression. Melatonin supplements can interact with various medications such as blood-thinning medications, medications that suppress the immune system, diabetes medications and birth control pills. Prolonged use may also inhibit the body’s own natural ability to produce melatonin.
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James F. Balch, M.D. writes: “A lack of the nutrients magnesium and calcium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.” Magnesium is also beneficial for bone health and heart health. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. According to WebMD, melatonin side effects may include headache, depression, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, stomach cramps and irritability.
One of the main symptoms of magnesium deficiency is chronic insomnia accompanied with with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep, per a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.
A recent study on magnesium comes from the University of Medical Sciences in Iran. Its subjects were 46 older adults who were experiencing insomnia. One group received placebos while the other received magnesium oxide tablets twice a day for eight weeks. Those taking the magnesium experienced significant increases in sleep time with less night time interruptions. Another good form of magnesium for sleep is magnesium citrate.