From insomnia to sleep apnea, the barriers to a good night’s sleep are abundant.

So are the potential “cures” from dubious products hawked on late-night infomercials to sleep supplements such as magnesium that can – as part of a functional medicine approach – promote better rest.

An estimated 50 to 75 million people in the U.S. have ongoing sleep disorders, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. And those disorders can pose an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and other chronic illnesses.

At Naples Center for Functional Medicine, we take a holistic approach to identifying and treating disorders and diseases, including sleep disorders. Our care model treats the whole patient rather than focusing primarily on surface-level symptoms.

Those sleep-reducing factors could stem from any number of seemingly unrelated issues, including hormonal imbalances and autoimmune disorders.

When it comes to sleep, magnesium and other supplements can be just one piece of the functional medicine puzzle. With that caveat in mind, here’s a bit more about the role of magnesium and sleep.

READ MORE: Friendly fire: how autoimmune disorders wreak havoc from within

What is magnesium? Does it help with sleep?  

Magnesium is one of the most abundant elements in the human body. It is a co-factor in about 300 biochemical pathways. Magnesium is available as a supplement as well as naturally occurring in foods.

Good sources of magnesium include nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grain and green leafy vegetables. Smaller amounts can be found in meat and dairy products.

Magnesium has a muscle-relaxing effect and can reduce anxiety by calming the nervous system. Its consumption helps achieve deeper sleep, reduces movement during sleep, decreases muscle cramps at night and decreases stress gland stimulation.

If taken 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime, magnesium can contribute to a restful night’s sleep by its calming effect on the nervous system, reducing anxiety. Supplements such as magnesium glycinate or magnesium malate have better absorption from the gut and will be more effective as a sleep aid. Avoid magnesium oxide, which is less absorbed in the intestine and more commonly used to combat symptoms of constipation and heartburn.

The preferred dose, depending on tolerability, is 200-400 milligrams. Note: magnesium can cause diarrhea in certain patients, so those who are susceptible should take a lower dose.

Those with chronic kidney disease are also at risk of increased complications. That makes it imperative to consult with your trusted health professional before adding any supplements to your intake.

READ MORE: Sleep: what to do when you can’t

Magnesium in your food: natural sleep aids  

While magnesium supplements can be an effective tool in promoting better sleep, this naturally occurring mineral can be found in your refrigerator and pantry as well as your nightstand. Among some common foods high in magnesium:

  • Almonds
  • Amaranth grain
  • Avocado
  • Black beans
  • Brazil nuts
  • Brown rice
  • Cashews
  • Edamame
  • Hazelnuts
  • Molasses
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin seed kernels
  • Shredded wheat cereal
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

READ MORE: NCFM physician joins anti-aging experts at national conference

Is a magnesium sleep supplement right for me? 

As we’ve said before, functional medicine isn’t about quick fixes. That includes the sleepy girl mocktail, a viral TikTok recipe that has elevated awareness of magnesium as a sleep aid in popular culture.

Instead, we provide each patient with a personalized assessment that includes a detailed medical history and chronological timeline of life events that could contribute to the disease process.

We help you create personalized nutritional plans based on food sensitivity testing that can identify (and remove) potentially harmful substances being consumed. If needed, advanced testing can measure hormone levels and better detect underlying imbalances or triggers.

As always, consult with your physician prior to making any substantial lifestyle, health or nutritional changes.

For questions, please contact our office at 239-649-7400.

Get better sleep today!

Call us at 239-649-7400 or complete the form below to learn more about natural remedies for better sleep and how functional medicine can apply to your wellness journey.