Magnesium promotes deeper, more restful sleep. Magnesium is an extremely effective sleep aid because it offers the body at rest the benefits that make it effective for muscle tension, stress, pain relief, blood sugar regulation, hormone production, and many other benefits.
When the body gains these benefits, all of its systems work more effectively.
Topical magnesium chloride oil is especially suited for promoting sleep because it acts rapidly to reduce local muscle tension. Regular use of topical magnesium replenishes the body’s stores of magnesium and provides the systemic benefits that improve sleep and reduce stress. The benefits of magnesium for sleep and stress result from the unique combination of local and systemic effects that it offers naturally.
Quality of Sleep, Magnesium, and Muscle Spasms
Magnesium is required for energy production. All organs, tissues, cells, and biochemical reactions in the body require energy to sustain normal function. When cellular energy levels are high, then the body has the means to sustain normal function. When energy levels decline, the body no longer has the energy it needs for proper function.
One of the major functions provided by magnesium is creating the cellular energy required to prevent excess calcium from entering cells. In conditions of magnesium deficiency, calcium tends to enter and accumulate within cells. This occurs primarily because the body lacks the energy (as ATP) needed to remove excess calcium from cells. This process can accelerate once it begins because accumulation of calcium within cells rigidifies cell membranes, and inhibits the action of the cellular pump (ATPase) to remove calcium.
Rigid cell membranes reduce the capacity of cells to remove excess calcium and reduce uptake of magnesium. When cells cannot uptake adequate levels of magnesium, calcification can proceed at a faster rate because cells no longer have the functional capacity to remove calcium or to prevent its accumulation.
Calcium excites cells. In contrast, magnesium relaxes cells.
Both calcium and magnesium have important roles to play in supporting health. Excess calcium in cells creates a state hyperexcitation that normally is countered by the presence magnesium. However, when magnesium levels are deficient, the state of hyperexcitation persists.
The cumulative result of magnesium deficiency is a state of excitation that not only prevents relaxation throughout cells and tissues in the body, but that also threatens the health of the nervous system, which requires magnesium to balance the effects of calcium.
Magnesium plays a central role in enabling cells to pump out excess calcium (and other substances that can be toxic when they accumulate within cells). The healthy cell wall can maintain high levels of magnesium and potassium within cells to assist with proper oxidation and cellular function, as well as keep calcium and sodium outside of cells, where these minerals act to transmit the energy produced within the cell.
Extreme magnesium deficiency, therefore, may result in a range of range of symptoms relating to cellular excitation caused by a lack of magnesium and potassium, and by excessively high levels of calcium.
These symptoms may include convulsions, gross motor tremor, weakness in muscles, excessive irritability, aggressiveness, vertigo, and semi-coma.1 While these symptoms occur most often when magnesium levels are extremely low, lesser degrees of deficiency will correspondingly result in symptoms that are similar, if less pronounced (e.g., twitches, tics, weak muscles, and nervous system overstimulation).
When magnesium deficiency is present, the nervous system is more likely to exhibit symptoms of hyperexcitation to one degree or another. Spasticity in muscles and nervous system excitation are likely to contribute to increasing stress levels and reduce the quality of sleep.
Magnesium Deficiency Insomnia & DHEA
A fundamental link between magnesium and sleep is the fact that magnesium supports systems in the body responsible for responding the stress.
Magnesium assists the body in its stress response by multiple means. While magnesium acts rapidly to relax muscles and reduce pain, it also plays a major role in the production of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone).
DHEA (also known as the youth hormone) helps assure abundant health. DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands. Production peaks around age thirty and thereafter falls precipitously. DHEA levels decline to the point that by age of seventy to eighty, the body produces just 5% of the amount it produced at age thirty.2
Age is not the only factor in declining levels of DHEA. DHEA levels decrease under conditions of stress, and especially chronic stress. Stress and chronic stress results in increased cortisol levels, erratic insulin response, poor sleep patterns, and immune deficiencies. DHEA supports the body’s stress response partly through its involvement in glucose metabolism. The inhibition of the glucose and glucocorticoid (cortisol) feedback loop is a significant factor relating to the intensity and duration of stress reactions.3
Maintaining high levels of DHEA supports the body’s responses to stress and can help prevent or reverse negative effects that lead to conditions of poor health. Abnormally low levels of DHEA are associated with the development of major health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, infections, and degenerative diseases.4
It is notable that low levels of DHEA are associated with many of the same symptoms and conditions associated with magnesium deficiency. Maintaining high levels of magnesium in the body will help maintain proper levels of DHEA. Among the best means to ensure adequate DHEA levels is the application of transdermal magnesium chloride on a regular basis.
Magnesium’s sleep benefits can be attributed to the reduction of muscle spasms and tightness commonly associated with insomnia, an increased ability to relax muscle systems, and an improved stress response. The use of magnesium for sleep is one aspect of the positive effects of magnesium on overall cellular health, as the body’s ability to maintain effective sleep patterns is related to healthy balance of cellular activity of both the nervous and muscular systems.