So, I’ve been absent for a few weeks, taking some much-needed time off. I spent a chunk of it on a floatie on a lake in the Okanganan. I spent a chunk of it sick in bed. A lot of that time I spent thinking about this blog (and my other ones) and what the heck I’m doing here, and what I want the future to look like. But more about that later, in more relevant post.
This post is about something new I’m doing for my health. So, I should start by saying that I think I live a fairly healthy lifestyle. I mean, I eat french fries. And donuts. Duh. Because life without those things would not be worth the living. But while I do enjoy fries-donuts-pies, I try to not eat those things every day. In fact, sometimes I don’t even eat them once a week or even less. I don’t eat meat, so my diet is pretty vegetable-forward, and while I still haven’t joined a gym, I live an accidentally pretty active lifestyle, that includes a lot of walking and riding my bike.
In terms of supplements, I’m not a huge fan of the “oh, I eat a shitty diet, so I’ll just take a multi to make up for it” kinda attitude. I like to try to get what I can, as much as I can, from my diet. One thing I do sometimes take is Iron or B-12, as those can sometimes be tricky to get enough of when you don’t eat meat.
This summer, however, I started taking magnesium supplements.
There’s a few reasons why. First off, my sleep has been wacko. I have been experiencing what I call “donut sleep,” which is when I fall asleep at the normal time, then wake up somewhere usually after 2 am, but can’t get back to sleep for hours. What’s the deal with this? It could be partially due to hormone changes (here in my 40’s), but it likely is related mostly to stress.
You see, friends, I have an awesome, really smart brain. That drives me crazy. It’s like there’s a hamster in there all the time, just running and running, and it never takes a break! I have a very busy brain, constantly making lists, worrying, puzzling shit out.
So while that might be great for me in some other areas of my life, when it comes to sleep, not so much.
I was also having some serious muscle twitches (also at times of great stress, of which, sadly, there was kind of a lot this summer). I have tried natural solutions like melatonin, but it doesn’t really work for me, and makes me feel all weird and spacey the next day.
So I started doing some research, and one of the solutions that came up was a magnesium supplement. Turns out most of us don’t get our recommended daily allowance of magnesium (which ranges from around 300-500mg/day) from our diet alone.
Foods that contain magnesium:
- Green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach and kale)
- Fruit (figs, avocado, banana and raspberries)
- Nuts and seeds
- Legumes (black beans, chickpeas and kidney beans) and tofu (soy bean)
- Vegetables (peas, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, artichokes, asparagus, brussels sprouts)
- Oily Seafood (salmon, mackerel, tuna)
- Whole grains (brown rice and oats)
- Raw cacao and dark chocolate
What Magnesium does for the body:
Magnesium really is everywhere in the body – it’s the 4th most abundant mineral. It’s involved in hundreds of different biochemical reactions and enzyme systems, supporting processes like protein synthesis, cell growth, and energy production. It has roles in nerve function, muscle control, and blood pressure. Even blood sugar regulation depends on magnesium. —ScienceBasedMedicine.org
Some folks have experienced success taking magnesium to help with things like restless leg syndrome (or my eyelid tic) and cramps, fibromyalgia, headaches/migraines, and osteoporosis.
It’s also been reported to help with anxiety, stress and insomnia.
Ways of taking Magnesium Supplements:
Tablet/pill format. Ideally, you want to take your magnesium supplement later in the day so it has the best possible effect. I usually take mine in late afternoon or early evening.
Topically. Okay. Let’s talk about poop here for a sec. Taking a magnesium supplement can have a, um… shall we say, laxative effect on your digestive system. If you’re not super regular anyway, this can be a good thing. But if it’s an issue for you, topical application of magnesium is for sure an option. There are sprays, creams, and also epsom salt baths. I’ve been using a magnesium spray (from a local company called Promedics) before bed. You can spray it on your feet or on your belly, but keep it away from delicate skin. Just FYI, you may experience a tingling sensation with a topical magnesium supplement.
So, yeah, things are better now. I’m sleeping better. Most nights I sleep right through the night. Sometimes I wake up, but I’m more able to go back to sleep, and not be awake for hours tossing and turning.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you tried magnesium supplements, and for what? Did they work? Let me know in the comments below!