News and Research on Magnesium for Sleep

Archive for January, 2012

Sleep Remedy Studies on Melatonin-Rich Foods

With the National Sleep Foundation reporting that six out of ten Americans suffer with insomnia several nights a week and 25% of the U.S. population uses sleeping drugs (known as “hypnotics”), an increasing number of people these days are looking for natural sleep remedies. In recent research studies, it was discovered that both walnuts and tart cherries contain significant levels of the natural sleep hormone melatonin, and may therefore be a natural, food-based way to get a better night’s sleep.

Russel Reiter, Ph.D., a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center says, “Relatively few foods have been examined for their melatonin content. Our studies demonstrate that walnuts contain melatonin, that it is absorbed when it is eaten, and that it improves our ability to resist oxidative stress caused by toxic molecules called free radicals. Walnuts also contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to inhibit certain types of cancer and to keep the heart healthy.”

Melatonin is best known as a sleep remedy. It is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland, located in the center of the brain. At night or in the dark, the pineal gland releases melatonin to regulate the sleep cycle. The body produces less melatonin with advancing age. While melatonin doesn’t require a prescription, it is a potent hormone. If too much is taken, it can make it more difficult to wake up and may result in daytime grogginess. It is best used under the supervision of a doctor. Nutritionists recommend that melatonin is best consumed as part of a whole food or whole food supplement.

In another study done at the University Of Texas Health Science Center, researchers discovered that the tart “Montmorency” cherry also contains a significant level of melatonin. Cherries are available in concentrated supplement form and can be taken in the evening to improve the quality of sleep. Other ways cherries can be eaten include dried cherries, frozen cherries and cherry juice. You can add dried cherries to yogurt, granola, salads and baked foods. Cherry juice should be diluted with water or sparkling water as it is high in natural sugars.

The brain can also be assisted in its melatonin production by taking calcium supplements. William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.” It’s important to note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium is important to overall health, and that these two minerals should be taken together for best results.

Digestibility and absorption are important factors in selecting the best forms of calcium and magnesium to use. For example, Sleep Minerals II from is a natural sleep remedy that contains six types of calcium, three forms of magnesium, boron, Vitamin D, Vitamin K and horsetail herb — all combined in a softgel with carrier oils. Oils such as evening primrose have been shown to increase mineral absorption, reduce calcium excretion, and increase bone density.

Veronica R. of British Columbia, Canada says, ”Sleep Minerals II has worked wonders for me. Before I started taking it, I would fall asleep and then wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep. Now I take these and have had no problems going back to sleep. I don’t have to be awake for 2 or 3 hours every night. I’m so happy I took the chance to try it. I don’t like taking over-the-counter drugs. With Sleep Minerals II, I don’t feel sleepy at all during the day.”

So, if insomnia and sleeplessness have troubled you, be sure to keep your cupboard stocked with natural sleep remedies and use them well to make insomnia a thing of the past.

For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit

Restless Leg Syndrome and Insomnia Linked to Magnesium Deficiency

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a form of insomnia characterized by an overwhelming urge to move the legs when they are at rest, especially during sleep.  RLS affects about 10% of the people in the U.S. It runs in families and may have a genetic component. Recent research has found that people with restless leg syndrome are deficient in the mineral magnesium.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, almost six out of ten Americans report having insomnia and sleep problems at least a few nights a week. Other types of insomnia include sleep apnea, which involves interrupted breathing and snoring during the night; narcolepsy – which causes people to fall asleep throughout the daytime; insomnia from hormone fluctuations such as with menstruation or menopause; and insomnia from the use of medications, caffeine or alcohol.

Those who have restless leg syndrome experience unpleasant sensations in the legs described as creeping, crawling, tingling, pulling, or painful.  These sensations usually occur in the calf area but may be felt anywhere from the thigh to the ankle. People with RLS often experience chronic insomnia and sleeplessness due to the strong urge to walk or do other activities to relieve the sensations in their legs.

In one study from the Romanian Journal of Neurology and Psychiatry, researchers conducted biochemical and neurological tests in 10 cases of restless leg syndrome. The investigators reported important disorders of sleep organization.  They found agitated sleep with frequent periods of nocturnal awakenings and a decrease of the duration and percentage of the deeper rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – also found in other forms of insomnia caused by magnesium deficiency. (1)

Another study from the Journal “Sleep” had similar results. The study was titled “Magnesium Therapy for Periodic Leg Movements (PLMS) – Related Insomnia and Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): An Open Pilot Study”. Magnesium was administered orally in the evening over a period of 4-6 weeks. Following magnesium treatment, periodic leg movements associated with arousals decreased significantly.  In the 1998 study, the researchers concluded: “Our study indicates that magnesium treatment may be a useful alternative therapy in patients with mild or moderate RLS-or PLMS-related insomnia.” (2)

According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota, “Magnesium plays a key role in the body’s chemistry that regulates sleep. This may be why persons with long-term lack of sleep, or abnormal brain waves during deep sleep, often have low magnesium in their blood….Magnesium treatment increased deep sleep and improved brain waves during sleep in 12 elderly subjects. Magnesium treatment also decreased time to fall asleep and improved sleep quality of 11 alcoholic patients who often have a low magnesium status.”

Regarding the use of nutritional insomnia remedies containing magnesium for relief of restless leg syndrome and other sleep problems, certain formulas are more effective than others. The combination of minerals included and the presence of cofactors in the product are key.  Formulas should contain a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium.  The original research on this recommended ratio appeared in 1935 in the Journal of Physiological Reviews (3) and is made on the basis of long-term metabolic studies in men and women.

One natural insomnia remedy showing good results is Sleep Minerals II, made by in Glendale, CA. This sleep aid contains six types of calcium, three forms of magnesium, boron, Vitamin D, Vitamin K and horsetail herb – all combined in a softgel with carrier oils. Oils such as evening primrose have been shown to increase mineral absorption, reduce calcium excretion, and increase bone density.

Sleep Minerals II has had beneficial results with relieving restless leg syndrome.  Ali M. of Istanbul Turkey says: “I have been a pharmacist in Istanbul Turkey for almost 40 years and I also work as a consultant in food supplements. I suffer from restless leg syndrome at night. I recently tried your Sleep Minerals II and it had an astonishing beneficial result. My youngest brother, who is also a pharmacist, also suffers from restless leg syndrome. He tried the Sleep Minerals II with the same result. My mother aged 92 was complaining of sleep problems and insomnia. She also tried it and the result was again successful.  If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I would have found it hard to believe.”

Many people suffer from restless leg syndrome and some sources have called it an incurable disease.  Regular use of the right kind of mineral supplement just might provide the needed relief.

For more information on Sleep Minerals II visit


1: Clinical, EEG, electromyographic and polysomnographic studies in restless legs syndrome caused by magnesium deficiency. Rom J Neurol Psychiatry.1993 Jan-Mar; 31(1):55-61. PubMed PMID: 8363978.

2. Sleep. 1998 Aug 1;21(5):501-5.

3. Schmidt C.L.A., Greenberg D.M., Physiol Rev, 15: 297.

Magnesium Deficiency in Older Adults May Contribute to Insomnia, Osteoporosis and Diabetes

A recent Gallup Poll survey reported that magnesium consumption decreases as we age, with 79% of adults 55 and over eating below the recommended dietary allowance  (RDA) of magnesium.  In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that older adults are at increased risk of magnesium deficiency due to their decreased ability to absorb the mineral. The diseases to which the elderly are vulnerable, and some of the drugs used in therapy, also contribute to magnesium loss.

“A potential magnesium deficiency is a matter of concern for many individuals of all ages, but for the elderly, it could be particularly serious,” said Richard Rivlin, M.D., Chief of the Nutrition Division at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center.

“The prevalence of heart disease, diabetes and even leg cramps increases dramatically among older persons, and these are all health conditions in which magnesium deficiency has been found,” Rivlin said.


Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health evaluated the dietary intake of specific nutrients for more than 85,000 women and more than 42,000 men, in data supplied over 18 years for the women and over 12 years for the men.  They found that the men and women whose diets included the largest amounts of magnesium were the least likely to develop type 2 diabetes.  Most of the participants in the study consumed magnesium through foods, such as whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables.


A lack of magnesium is also associated with osteoporosis.  Bone health is supported by many factors, most notably calcium and vitamin D. However, some evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency may be an additional risk factor for postmenopausal osteoporosis.  This may be due to the fact that magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and the hormones that regulate calcium.  In one study of older adults, a greater magnesium intake maintained bone mineral density to a higher degree than a lower intake.

Sleep Remedy

A recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that a majority of older adults (67%) report having frequent sleep problems.  This translates to 37 million older adults in the U.S. having some form of insomnia.  Particularly for older people, a possible underlying nutritional cause of insomnia may be a deficiency of certain minerals.  James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”

Types of Magnesium

Some forms of magnesium are more digestible than others – an important factor because our digestive enzymes and our ability to absorb nutrients lessen with age.  Magnesium citrate is a unique form of magnesium in which the magnesium is bonded with citric acid to make it more absorbable.  Magnesium aspartate is another form that is carried into the body more fully.  It is made by binding the mineral to an amino acid (aspartic acid).

Supplements with Magnesium

The combination of minerals included in a supplement and the presence of vitamin cofactors (such as vitamin D and K) are key. Formulas should contain a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. The original research on this recommended ratio appeared in 1935 in the Journal of Physiological Reviews.  In addition, a softgel form is more digestible than tablets.  Softgels formulated with carrier oils such as evening primrose have been shown to increase mineral absorption, reduce calcium excretion, and increase bone density.

One formula that has these qualities and is gaining in popularity is Sleep Minerals II from  Sleep Minerals II is an insomnia remedy which contains six forms of calcium, three forms of magnesium (including the citrate and aspartate forms), boron, Vitamin D, Vitamin K and horsetail herb – all combined in a softgel with carrier oils.

Lyn K. of Los Angeles, CA. says “I’ve had chronic insomnia for some years now and had been taking other mineral-based insomnia remedies to help with my sleep. No remedy has worked as effectively or consistently as Sleep Minerals II. I can count on it whenever I need help falling asleep at night or going back to sleep in the middle of the night. This is what sets it apart from the rest – it works reliably. And in my life, I need to be well-rested 7 days a week, so I call this product my ‘Sleep Insurance’. It also eases my menopause symptoms, evens out my hormonal changes, and seems to put my body into a healthy balance.”

Richard Rivlin, M.D. summed up the Gallup Poll survey results by saying: “It is clear that consumers are largely unaware of the role of magnesium — a nutrient that is essential for the function of other minerals like calcium, as well as the normal operation of the heart and muscles.”

For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit


1. Landy, Liz. “Gallup Survey Finds Majority of American Diets Lack Sufficient Magnesium – At Potential Cost to Health,” Searle News, Sept. 21, 1994

2. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, Fact Sheet on Magnesium

3. Lopez-Ridaura, R. “Diabetes Care”, January 2004; vol 27: pp 134-140. Ruy Lopez-Ridaura, MD, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston.

4. Tucker KL, Hannan MT, Chen H, Cupples LA, Wilson PW, Kiel DP. “Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women.” Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69(4):727-36.

5. National Sleep Foundation: “The 2003 Sleep in America Poll”.

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