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Your go-to guide for magnesium supplements. A Sleep Specialist shares.

You’ve heard magnesium will help you sleep at night - so you go into the chemist and try and decipher which out of the 10 brands to select. With an array of different formulations, not to mention variations in magnesium itself, you’re left scratching your head. Not anymore - here is your guide for your magnesium supplement, complete with an explanation of why I am advising the mineral in the first place.

So… what does magnesium do?

Magnesium lowers stress - prime reason you’re not sleeping. The link between stress and poor sleep is well documented: the mechanism to predict one also encourages the other, as noted by peer reviewed journal Sleep ScienceEvidence has also found magnesium to modulate our fight of flight system - so even in the face of stress, you are more likely to feel calm. Consequently, that evening, you’re able to unwind your mind and disconnect from those lingering post work worries.

Magnesium calms the mind. Inhibiting hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, can otherwise make your mind to run a million miles an hour - with no off button. Research shows mental stillness correlates with magnesium supplementation because we have a reduction in these tension-inducing neurotransmitters.

Magnesium reduces pain. Particularly relevant for those training hard, noticing they aren’t bouncing back after big weekends (i’m not judging, by the way), recovering from an illness or managing post surgery, pain can contribute to you tossing and turning all night - making you feel fatigued in the morning, As a remedy, scientists in Current Medicinal Chemistry found that magnesium can reduce pain symptoms and allow for that rest you need. Note that deep sleep enables repair and replenishment of body tissues - so both for direct and indirect reasons, magnesium is key.

And what you should look for:

Magnesium Bisglycinate chelate. With the highest bioavailability out of all the differing forms of magnesium, this is critical to seek in the ingredients list. As pinpointed in this clinical trial, consuming this, rather than Mg citrate or Mg oxide, maximises benefits of magnesium for healthy sleep, aka those listed above.

Glutamine - enabling the body to produce calming neurotransmitter GABA, this compound, alongside magnesium itself, slows the brain, perfect for those who can’t ‘switch off’ - as pinpointed in academic journal Neurochemical Research.

A formulation which enhances GABA production. As mentioned above, GABA activates your parasympathetic nervous system, so you automatically feel more tranquil upon its production. By finding a formulation which features a combination of ingredients which all promote GABA - that’s when the magic happens. Consider this: in order to slow your mind before sleep, you can decrease the speed by one degree (e.g. using a single component like magnesium) or decrease it by three (e.g. a combination of GABA supporting substances). The slower your mind, the easier you sleep.

Something palatable. Because let’s be honest - if it’s horrid, are you really going to take it?

What do I recommend?

MedLab Mg Optima Relax. The combination of Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate, glutamine and l-theanine all promote GABA, which is fundamental. Secondly, it has Vitamin B6, which helps your body synthesize melatonin and serotonin, hormones to help you fall asleep and wake you up respectively. Further - I love the flavour - it’s a mild lemon lime which is more than palatable - it’s actually enjoyable. 


Written by Olivia Arezzolo

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