Stressed Out? Can’t Sleep? You May Need Magnesium


Magnesium is used in over 300 metabolic functions, and it’s so important it’s sometimes referred to as the “master mineral”. But it’s often missing from even a healthy diet.

The National Institutes of Health found that 68% of Americans are magnesium-deficient. Other experts put the number closer to 80%.

Our consumption of magnesium has steadily declined the past 100 years. Two theories are that it is being filtered out of our water supply and that our food is often grown in magnesium-depleted soil.

Another factor that could lead to widespread deficiency is that stress causes you to excrete magnesium in your urine like crazy. And who these days isn’t under stress?

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

One of the most obvious signs of magnesium deficiency is sleep issues. People with low magnesium are prone to tossing and turning, leg cramps, muscle twitches, and that “ache all over” feeling when they try to get to sleep. In extreme cases, they develop restless leg syndrome.

Other signs are lack of focus, low energy, heart palpitations, and inability to deal with stress.

There is evidence that fibromyalgia, a poorly understood but potentially debilitating disorder, could be due to lack of magnesium. Primary symptoms of this disorder are fatigue and overall pain. Secondary symptoms include memory and cognitive impairment, depression, anxiety, and chemical sensitivities.

Oh, I don’t want to forget chocolate cravings. If you’re like me and would like to make chocolate chips a condiment alongside salt and pepper, you may need more magnesium! ;-)

Benefits of Magnesium

Here are some of the benefits you can expect when you start getting adequate magnesium:

  • Improved mental focus
  • Reduced cravings for drugs and alcohol
  • Improved mood
  • Relief from depression
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Steady energy levels
  • Restful sleep
  • Balanced response to stress

Best Magnesium Sources

The top dietary magnesium sources are green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, bananas, legumes, and whole grains. But many of us intentionally avoid some of these foods for a variety of reasons.

If you don’t eat enough of these foods to prevent deficiency symptoms, consider magnesium supplementation. Magnesium supplements are so good at reducing stress they’ve been called the “original chill pill“.

Magnesium supplements are usually safe and relatively inexpensive but stay away from cheap oxides which are only 4% absorbed! Ditto on sulfates – this form of magnesium is found in Epsom salts and could cause stomach upset.

In desperation, I once picked up a bottle of the house brand at a well-known box store and it did zilch. I really should have known better. :-?

One of my favorite supplement companies, Wellness Resources, offers two magnesium formulations for different sets of symptoms:

  • If you are stressed during the day and can’t sleep at night, try Wellness Resources RelaxaMag . It contains magnesium bound to glycine, an amino acid that acts as a relaxing neurotransmitter.
  • If you suffer with muscle fatigue, muscle tightness, twitchy muscles, or cramps, Wellness Resources Muscle Mag contains 3 forms of magnesium bound to malic acid which reduces lactic acid formation in muscles. This supplement can help you get to sleep if uncomfortable muscles are keeping you awake.

Having Unhealthy Food Cravings? Here Is What Your Body Really Wants at
Is Fibromyalgia Due to a Mineral Deficiency? at
Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill at
11 Types of Magnesium Explained at


Deane Alban holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and has taught and written on a wide variety of natural health topics for over 20 years. She teaches the best ways to stay mentally sharp for life at her website Brain fog, “senior moments”, and fuzzy thinking are signs your brain is not working as well as it should. Discover how to nourish your brain and optimize your brainpower — sign up for her email series 21 Days to a Brighter Brain here.

Deane Alban
Deane Alban is co-founder of and author of "Brain Gold: Brain Fitness Guide for Boomers" and "21 Days to a Brighter Brain."

Deane holds a bachelor's degree in biology from University of South Florida, where she also studied journalism. She has taught and written on a wide variety of natural health topics for over 20 years, including teaching healthy cooking classes.

As a baby boomer, Deane has turned her passion for healthy living to focus on a major problem people everywhere are facing – issues with mental decline right now and worries about Alzheimer's disease and dementia in the future. Deane brings the science down to earth in an entertaining and engaging way, giving her readers practical, easy-to-follow advice to keep their minds sharp for life.

Deane lives near Tucson, Arizona with her husband and business partner, Patrick, a retired chiropractor. She loves living in the desert where plenty of sunshine and outdoor activities help keep her mind young!