Always Have Disrupted Sleep? You Could Be Deficient In This Mineral
Sleep can be a fraught topic. Even when we can find the time to sleep the recommended seven to nine hours, staying asleep through the night can be a challenge in itself. There are many factors that might leave you tossing and turning, and new research finds that a mineral deficiency could be one of them.
Don't sleep on this research.
A recently published study out of Australia1 observed that magnesium levels were much lower in people who reported getting less than seven hours of sleep.
The study looked specifically at something called lymphocyte telomere length2 to determine magnesium levels in 72 healthy elderly people from South Australia.
This study could bring us one step closer to learning about how mineral deficiencies can get in the way of one of the most important parts of our day. It also opens the door for further studies on how taking a magnesium supplement can help with sleep quality. The research also underscores the need for more inquiry into the relationship between sleep and other micronutrients like B and D vitamins, which have also been linked to sleep quality.
There's also room for additional studies to analyze how magnesium impacts specific markers of sleep quality, including the duration of various sleep stages and biomechanical measurements like heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
Getting in the zzz zone.
Magnesium can be found in many healthy foods like spinach, almonds, avocado, nuts, and seeds. However, almost half (44%) of Americans don't get enough magnesium3 from their diet alone, so supplementation may be necessary. Thankfully, there are plenty of expert-recommended magnesium supplements you can add to your routine—including ones specifically designed to enhance sleep.
In addition to making sure you're getting enough magnesium, you can improve your sleep quality by checking in on your sleep hygiene. It's important to stick to a consistent sleep schedule, get plenty of sunlight first thing in the morning, and avoid sleep disrupters like caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime. (There are even things you can do to fall asleep *right now* if you happen to be doom-scrolling in bed as you read this.)
With sleep being as important as it is, we'll take all the new information we can get on how to optimize it. Science is making strides in observing the link between magnesium and sleep and the meaningful improvement that getting enough of the mineral can make on a full night's rest.
Jenny is a San Francisco-based mbg health contributor, content designer, and climate & sustainability communications specialist. She is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara. An avid open-water swimmer, Jenny has worked for healthy living and nutrition brands like Sun Basket, Gather Around Nutrition, and Territory Foods.