People look for more natural ways to cure what ails them. They’re less interested in manufactured chemicals from a pharmaceutical company, because they often have side-effects we know about, and side-effects we don’t.
By using natural magnesium and calcium supplements, we can sometimes solve an intractable insomnia issue with nothing more than a couple of well-understood minerals.
Researchers have proven that magnesium and calcium (taken together for reasons we’ll explain below) can improve your sleep if you suffer from frequent awakening and the inability to fall back to sleep when awoken.
The Calcium Connection
Calcium helps your brain turn the chemical tryptophan (in your turkey dinner or a glass of milk – this is why they’re both touted as “sleep aids”) into melatonin. Melatonin is the trigger for sleep – it’s produced in your brain when it gets dark, and that production is halted when it’s light again.
We all know about the other important functions calcium has – it’s important for strong bones and teeth, and his involved in several other critical processes in your body. Too little calcium in your diet can be a very bad thing.
The Thing About Magnesium
Magnesium is required for the absorption of calcium, and a lack of it triggers insomnia (frequent awakenings)! It’s essential for the calcium process, and a deficiency in either mineral can be hard to figure out because the two are linked together in the jobs they do.
Like calcium, magnesium also has several other very important jobs to do around your body. It’s essential to our survival – things like heart failure, muscle weakness and dizziness (and many, many more) are symptoms of a lack of the mineral.
So How About Supplementing?
First off, the best way to get any vitamin or mineral is from your diet. That being said, many of us today are deficient in these minerals, so supplementation becomes an option. If you suspect your diet as being low in calcium and magnesium, you might want to investigate taking a supplement (do your homework!).
- The RDA for calcium in adults is between 1000mg and 1300mg per day – depending on your age, your sex and if you’re pregnant or not. Supplementing more than this RDA can lead to kidney problems. I myself take 333mg, twice a day – and I feel this is safe and when combined with my diet (vegetarian with no milk) should get me in the ballpark of the RDH each day.
- The RDA for magnesium is really simple – about half that of calcium. So you’ll find in magnesium/calcium supplements – there will be about twice as much calcium as magnesium. Mine has 166mg of magnesium per dose (and 333mg of calcium).
I like to split the doses into two – one in the morning and one in the evening, as the blood levels of the minerals will remain relatively constant. I do this same thing for every supplement I take – I even cut my daily multi-vitamin in half.
As with everything you put in your body – make sure you fully understand what you’re doing and why your doing it – research is key!
Posted by Doug at BuildBetterSleep.com