Why I Choose Magnesium Over Melatonin For Sleep

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture – something which new parents will surely attest to.

With
three children I’ll be the first to admit there have been more than a
few sleepless nights.  Even though I eat a healthy paleo diet, this
isn’t enough to outweigh stress and sleep deprivation. The suffering
soon sets in.


 

Sleeping pills may seem like an easy solution but
they come with a long list of consequences.  Convincing yourself you’ll
return to normal sooner or thinking you can relive your reveled college
days is just going to make things worse.

Surprisingly though, the “natural” solution of melatonin isn’t a good insomnia treatment either.

What Can You Do to Improve Sleep?

Before
trying any sleep supplements for curing insomnia, I recommend fixing
your diet. Often times, a real foods paleo diet is all you need to get
your sleep back in check.

You probably already know that stress
can make it hard to sleep.  And, as the National Sleep Institute points
out, lack of sleep can cause stress — so it is a terrible vicious cycle.
These stress management techniques can help get things going back in
the right direction as well.

Obviously, you’ll also want to avoid caffeine and alcohol and try to stick to a set bedtime routine.

But
what if even after several days of doing all the obvious things you’re
still dragging?   If you’re tossing and turning and not able to get some
actual shuteye, then it is time to turn to sleep supplements.

The Melatonin Misconception

When
I asked on my Facebook page what supplements people take to help get to
sleep I was surprised to read melatonin several times.

We do
produce melatonin naturally, so I see how it can be misconstrued as a
benign supplement to simply pop in your mouth and start counting sheep.

As talked about in the book The Sleep Solution, melatonin
is associated with sleep because it’s produced as a stress hormone to
cope with darkness. Sleep is the body’s natural antidote to the stress
that melatonin causes.

Here is what it looks like:

We’re stressed by the dark —> we produce melatonin —> sleep relieves the stress.

You
say you’re feeling sleepy when taking melatonin? Well, the melatonin’s
merely inducing limpness in your body where blood is restricted to the
brain and heart and your general cognitive function is impaired. Um,
yikes!

Deliberately slowing down the blood supply to my vital organs isn’t something I really want to do in order to get to sleep!

Although melatonin may help induce sleep in the elderly, there is no solid scientific evidence to support melatonin’s effectiveness for treating insomnia in young and middle-aged adults.

However, there are many possible side effects of melatonin consumption:

  • Vasoconstriction of the brain, organs, and heart.
  • Shrinks and involutes the thymus gland
  • Shrinks sex organs Increases heart rate and perpetuates the stress cycle
  • Inhibits fertility

A Better Sleep Supplement: Magnesium

In
the body, magnesium moves calcium out of the muscles and puts it back
into the bloodstream where it can be mobilized elsewhere.

By removing calcium from the muscles, magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer.

Magnesium also has another role in sleep: It induces those sleepy states that you feel before actually falling asleep.

These
reasons are why drinking a glass of milk is good for helping you get to
sleep.  Milk contains a lot of magnesium. However, because of the
digestive issues it causes, I would never recommend drinking milk to
help get to sleep.

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