A commonly known fact is that sleep is an essential part of our well-being. Many deprived from a good-night’s sleep will complain about a headache the next morning, but dealing with sleeplessness night after night can have serious negative effects on one’s physical as well as mental health. It is therefore essential that anyone delivering long-term care pays extra attention to providing ample opportunities for rest, including an appropriate sleep routine.
Without such provision for sleep, doctors and scientists have found that various changes occur in one’s system with time, which can put older people at risk for insomnia. Studies show that these age-related changes can affect circadian rhythms, and lead to insufficient absorption and retention of certain minerals, such as magnesium which plays an important role in sleep regulation.
What is Magnesium and Why Use it for Sleep?
Magnesium is a macro-mineral that makes up approximately 99% of the body’s mineral content. Besides contributing to healthy maintenance of the bones, it also plays a crucial role in nerve function. It was in 1980 that research first lent evidence to the fact that magnesium has muscle relaxant properties, and is in fact an essential mineral that helps regulate sleep. This discovery was also ascertained in recent years when a study was published in 2013 in the Zahedan Journal of Research in Medical Sciences.
This mineral can be found in foods like spinach, chard, black beans, figs, avocado, almonds, just to name a few. Once it enters the body, it helps calcium attach to bones. However, in order to do that, it actually has to remove some of the calcium from the muscles, which in turn leads to their relaxation. Furthermore, a glass of warm milk is also known to trigger a yawn or two. This is due to high magnesium levels found in milk, which have a calming effect on one’s body.
Balance Your Diet to Sleep Better
New data indicates that approximately 20% of the population suffers from magnesium deficiency. Interestingly, according to various nutrition-based research, the reason behind this are various foods and drinks, like coffee that actually decrease the amount of magnesium in the system. In order to mitigate the situation, the best solution is to incorporate magnesium-rich foods into your diet. If you are caring for a picky eater, fortunately, you can choose from a variety of fruits, nuts and vegetables to compensate your magnesium needs.
Doctors suggest that a daily magnesium intake should not exceed 400-420 mg for men and 310-320 mg for women, which means it takes as little as 1 cup of almonds, 1/2 cup of figs or other small amounts of magnesium found in other healthy foods.
To avoid any tossing and turning at night and ensure a good-quality sleep for those in your care, consider checking their magnesium and other mineral levels, which may be the culprit behind an established sleeping problem.