I’d be singing to the choir if I told you, you can’t sleep because you live in a 2015 stress filled world. That is just so obvious. But for a moment, think about poor dear ancient Mrs. Caveman. When her mate went out to get a meal he had a 50-50 chance of bringing home dinner or being dinner himself. Fast forward 300,000 years. When we go out to bring home a meal today, the only difference between us and Mr. Caveman is our food has already been killed and is packaged in brightly colored containers. The fangs and tusks of the caveman days have been replaced by the factory farms and the processing. Fangs and claws are no longer the immediate danger, chemicals, additives, GMOs and food devoid of nutrition are the slow danger fangs and claws.
Minerals are Basic Constituents of all Matter
Minerals compose about 4 to 5 percent of our body and most of that is in our skeleton. But in the year 2015 most Americans are severely deficient in vitamins, minerals and generally basic nutrients. Carbonated beverages, sugar, processed carbohydrate foods and soft water decrease minerals in the body as well as alcohol, caffeine and diuretic drugs. The modern human body simply does not have even the essential basic nutrition to sustain normal daily functions as they were meant to be.
Dr. Elson Haas says, ” Decreased blood levels of magnesium have been shown to be related to high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart attacks, and particularly, heart attacks due to coronary artery spasm.”
This proves that minerals work hard in the body to keep us healthy.
“Magnesium is most prevalent in the vegetable kingdom as a component of chlorophyll. The availability, however, from these foods depend on the soil in which it is grown. Much of the magnesium, as well as all minerals and vitamins in food is lost in the processing and refining. Soaking and boiling foods in water can leach mineral and vitamins into the water and ends up being drained down the sink.” (Prescription for Nutritional Healing)
Magnesium is considered an “antistress” mineral. It is a natural tranquilizer, while calcium stimulates. Think of it as calcium stimulates muscle contraction, magnesium relaxes them. It works this way with the heart muscle, too. They do their best when they are balanced. (1:1) Doctors could save patients much suffering if they gave magnesium to heart attack victims during or just after a heart attack. With low magnesium levels more calcium flows into the vascular cells which contracts the heart muscle, magnesium relaxes it allowing blood flow to proceed. With adequate magnesium intake, it has been shown to prevent myocardial infarctions, spasms, palpitations and other heart ailments.
In other studies, it has been reported that supplementing magnesium is very helpful in alleviating cramps, irritability, fatigue, depression, and water retention that plague many modern women preceding and during their periods. Magnesium is also given as part of a treatment for autism or hyperactivity in kids, usually along with vitamin B6.
Some of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include but not limited to, fatigue, anorexia, irritability, insomnia, and muscle tremors and twitching, apathy, apprehension, rapid heart beat, numbness and tingling and sustained muscle contraction.
Other manifestations are confusion, insomnia, poor digestion, seizures and tantrums. Often, magnesium deficiency can be synonymous with diabetes.
That illusive Sleep
“Studies have shown that without the neuroprotective actions of magnesium, sleep stages lose their harmonic order, becoming erratic and unpredictable in their occurrence. They’re called “stages” for a reason, and any deviation from their position in the sleep cycle can spell disaster. On top of that chaos, when that nerve-calming protection is absent, you instead have neuronal excitability and increased periods of wakefulness that are most commonly the result.
Another unfortunate consequence of a magnesium deficient state is the impaired biosynthesis and regulation of hormones such as melatonin. As melatonin is a fundamental sleep hormone, we don’t need Google Maps to jump from point A to point B to see how this might throw a wrench into any plans of beauty sleep. Needless to say, sufficient levels of magnesium are required to stimulate melatonin synthesis or else your sleep quality plummets.
There are, of course, other factors to consider such as aging. As we age, the production of certain hormones like melatonin see a steady decline bringing an additional complication to the mix. However, maintaining satisfactory levels of magnesium has been shown to reduce the severity of this decline, and in some cases help it level out or rise. In post-menopausal women, who have a higher incidence of deteriorating sleep quality, research has shown that by supplementing with magnesium not only were many menopausal symptoms reduced or alleviated, but quality of sleep was markedly improved as well.” (Progresshealth.com/magnesium)
Magnesium + Zinc + Melatonin
“Besides magnesium, there are other minerals used to treat insomnia in alternative medicine. These other essential minerals include zinc and calcium. In addition, melatonin (a naturally occurring sleep-promoting hormone in the nervous system) is often recommended in the treatment of insomnia.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society investigated the benefits of combining magnesium with zinc and melatonin in treatment of insomnia in the elderly.
For this study, the researchers recruited 43 residents of a long-term care facility. Each of these participants was given either 100 g pear pulp (placebo) or a combination of 5 mg melatonin, 225 mg magnesium and 11.25 mg zinc mixed with 100 g pear pulp 1 hour before bedtime for 8 weeks.
The results of the study showed that the natural supplement combination
•improved quality of sleep
•improved ease of getting to sleep
•improved alertness and behavior the morning after
•reduced hangover on waking up
•increased total sleep time
The researchers, therefore, concluded that the combination of magnesium, zinc and melatonin is recommended for insomnia patients in order to improve the quality of sleep.” ancient-minerals.com/blog-post/magnesium-sleep)
Magnesium Supplements–How Much to Take?
Magnesium is not easily absorbed by the body, so an over dose is not likely. An average diet will supply about 120mg. per 1000 calories for about a natural 250mg. daily. Many authorities think up to 600 to 700 mg. daily is a good place to land. The best time to take magnesium is bed time because this mineral needs an acidic stomach to be absorbed. At bedtime the stomach is mostly empty which makes it acidic. Many calcium-magnesium combinations are formulated with hydrochloric acid and vitamin D to help with absorption. Read labels and avoid store brands. Many vitamins of lesser quality have added fillers, non-essential ingredients and coloring agents. All of these you don’t need to an already toxic system.
I personally take 500mg. of magnesium at bedtime and sleep very well. But if you still need a boost, try an herbal tea. Look for some of these herbs on the label; chamomile-catnip–hops–valerian root–skullcap. Drink about an hour before bed time. I would advise against using any sweetener at bedtime, however.
One more tip to a restful sleep; draw a hot tub of water in which you have dissolved 2 cups of lavender scented Epsom salts. Climb in, lie back and soak in the hot water and Epsom salts for about 20 minutes, about an hour before bedtime. Ahhhhhhh!
An excellent article by Dr. Mercola http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/17/magnesium-benefits.aspx
For homeopathic supplies, check out these great folks http://www.1-800homeopathy.com/blog/how-to-sleep-better?