Friday, 1 Jul 2022

How to sleep: Magnesium supplement could help improve sleep – what the evidence says

Olympian Greg Rutherford shares his top tips on sleep

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There are two types of insomnia, long term and short term.

If insomnia goes on for less than three months, it’s short-term.

If it goes on for longer than three months, it’s long-term.

A recent study says one supplement could help insomnia in older adults.

Published in 2021, the study found that magnesium has the potential to help.

Researchers concluded: “The quality of literature is substandard for physicians to make well-informed recommendations on usage of oral magnesium for older adults with insomnia.

“However, given that oral magnesium is very cheap and widely available, RCT evidence may support oral magnesium supplements for insomnia symptoms.”

While it’s not conclusive evidence of magnesium’s impact, the decision to recommend RCT (Randomised Control Trials) is a step in the right direction.

Insomnia can be caused by a number of non-medicinal factors such as:
• Stress
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Noise
• A room that’s too hot or too cold
• Uncomfortable beds
• Alcohol
• Caffeine
• Nicotine
• Recreational drugs
• Jet lag
• Shift work.

On the other hand, it could also be caused by other medicinal conditions such as the menopause, Alzheimer’s, restless legs syndrome, or an overactive thyroid.

Although the evidence for magnesium’s impact on insomnia isn’t so thorough as to point to a conclusion on it’s effectiveness, what is certain is that soon it will be time to stop taking a vitamin.

Between September and April, the Government recommends the consumption of vitamin D supplements.

This is because the body can’t produce the amount it needs from the sun during this period.

After April, the body can produce the vitamin D it requires from sunlight.

Not everyone will be able to stop taking the supplements.

The NHS recommends year-round consumption of vitamin D for those who “are not often outdoors, are in an institution like a care home, or usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors”.

If a person overdoses on vitamin D (not possible from sunlight) this can damage the heart, bones, and kidneys.

For more information how much of each vitamin is required, contact the NHS or consult with your GP.

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