If you struggle to get an adequate amount of sleep at night, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 35% of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep at night on a regular basis. Unfortunately, it’s not just grogginess in the morning you can look forward to after a night of lackluster sleep—inadequate sleep can predispose you to everything from high blood pressure to heart disease. However, if you’re looking to improve the quality and duration of your sleep, you only need look as far as the supplement aisle at your local drugstore.
“In my opinion, the best supplement to take before bedtime is magnesium,” says Megan Byrd, RD, registered dietitian and founder of The Oregon Dietitian. “It’s a crucial nutrient in many bodily functions, and is utilized in every organ! Magnesium is great for promoting healthy sleep and helps to relax the body. It can also help prevent leg cramping at night, too.”
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In fact, according to a 2012 Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, among a group of 46 elderly study subjects, those who received a 500-milligram dose of magnesium over an eight-week period had significant increases in their sleep time and reductions in their insomnia severity as compared to those given a placebo.
If it happens to be anxiety that’s keeping you awake, magnesium may be able to help, too. A 2017 study published in PLOS One found that, among a group of 126 adults experiencing mild to moderate depressive symptoms, magnesium supplementation over the course of six weeks improved their self-reported wellbeing as well as their symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Even if you’re not eager to get your magnesium via a pill, there are plenty of ways to increase your intake of this essential nutrient in your diet, as well. Byrd notes that, in addition to supplements, magnesium is also readily available through healthy foods “such as leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.”
For more simple ways to enjoy better rest, check out these 7 Healthy Diet Changes That Help You Sleep, and for the latest health news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!
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