A. Studies have found a link between low levels of magnesium, an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in a wide range of bodily processes, and sleep disorders. But if you are concerned you aren’t getting enough magnesium, changing your diet may be a better option than taking a supplement, as “there is really sparse evidence that taking super-therapeutic doses of magnesium will give you a benefit,” said Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a professor of pulmonary and sleep medicine at the University of Southern California.
The mineral is widely available in both plant and animal-based foods, and the kidneys limit urinary excretion of magnesium, so deficiencies are rare in healthy people. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains are good sources of magnesium; fish, chicken and beef also contain magnesium. Older adults and people with certain disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases and alcoholism, however, may have inadequate amounts.
“Magnesium deficiency has been associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety and difficulty relaxing, which are key ingredients to getting good sleep at night,” Dr. Dasgupta said. He noted that magnesium interacts with an important neurotransmitter that favors sleep.