Insomnia is a pervasive problem in the United States. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the number of people that are reporting loss of sleep has been increasing since 2001. With sleep becoming such a problem many of my patients come in to ask for help with this, along with their other complaints. I have used magnesium as one of my principle minerals to restore health in patients with insomnia. I use it for patients who have had problems both getting to sleep and those that have difficultly staying asleep. One of the main reasons for insomnia has to do with anxiety or worry over problems that occur in daily life. Medications and chronic issues also contribute to sleep disturbances as well. As a naturopathic doctor I will always look at the total picture and prescribe an appropriate diet, stress management and other essential nutrients to help address all the underlying issues with regard to insomnia or other sleep issues. However I find there is one mineral that I use more than any other in as part of my health and wellness plan and that is magnesium.
Magnesium is used by the nervous system and the muscular skeletal system during all of their transmissions in the body. If there is a deficiency of magnesium in the body the skeletal and nervous system cannot fully relax. In addition to muscle relaxation magnesium can help to relieve insomnia do to slight to moderate pain. In a study published in Sleep August 1998 the use of magnesium eliminated muscle twitches in patients with moderate restless leg syndrome which resulted in better sleep for all participants. I use magnesium as part of the relaxation process for the muscles so the body can achieve better levels of sleep. This shows how magnesium can be effective in relaxing muscle with improves the quality of sleep.
It is important to understand how vitamins and nutrients work in the body and to always take any natural substance in the appropriate amounts. Make it part of a healthy and safe plan.
Dr. Dae is a Naturopathic Physician who practices in the Washington DC metro area treating the whole person using safe and effective combinations of traditional and natural methods to produce optimal health and well-being in the lives of her patients.
Sources: M, Hornyak, Voderholzer U, Hohagen F, Berger M, and Riemann D. "Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements-related insomnia and restless legs syndrome: an open pilot study.." Sleep 21(5): (1998): 501-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9703590
"National Sleep Foundation - Information on Sleep Health and Safety. Web. 8 Aug. 2011. http://www.sleepfoundation.org.