Magnesium For Night Terrors

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Overview

Night terrors, also known as sleep terrors, are a type of parasomnia that affects both children and adults. They are characterised by sudden and intense episodes of fear and panic during sleep, often accompanied by screaming, sweating, and rapid heart rate. Night terrors usually occur during non-REM (NREM) sleep, which is the deepest stage of sleep, and they can last from a few seconds to several minutes.1

Night terrors can be a disturbing and distressing experience for those who suffer from them, as well as for their loved ones. While the exact cause of night terrors is not fully understood, they have been linked to various factors such as sleep deprivation, stress, anxiety, and certain medications.1

However, one potential treatment for night terrors is magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, heart health, and bone strength. It is also known to have a calming effect on the body and mind, which can be beneficial for reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.2 Studies have shown that individuals with magnesium deficiency experienced severe sleep disorders and night terrors.2

While more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of magnesium for night terrors, it is a promising treatment option that is safe and easy to implement. Magnesium can be obtained through diet by consuming magnesium-rich foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains, or through supplementation in the form of pills or powders.

In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of magnesium for night terrors in more detail, including its mechanism of action, dosage recommendations, and possible side effects. We will also provide tips on how to incorporate magnesium into your daily routine and discuss other natural remedies that may help manage night terrors.

How does magnesium affect night terrors

Magnesium is a mineral that is necessary for many bodily functions, including the transmission of nerve cells. The neurological system regulates sleep to a significant extent, and researchers speculate that minerals like magnesium may influence the quality of sleep. Nevertheless, the relationship between magnesium and sleep is still being studied.3

Several studies have suggested that magnesium supplementation may be beneficial in reducing the frequency and severity of night terrors. One possible mechanism for this effect is the role that magnesium plays in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Magnesium is involved in the regulation of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is responsible for promoting relaxation and sleepiness. GABA levels tend to be lower in people with sleep disorders such as night terrors, and magnesium supplementation may help to increase GABA levels and promote a more restful sleep.4

In addition to its effects on GABA, magnesium has also been shown to reduce the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, which can contribute to the development of anxiety and sleep disturbances. By reducing cortisol levels, magnesium may help to promote a more relaxed and restful sleep environment, which can reduce the frequency and severity of night terrors.4

Similarly, studies have investigated the effects of magnesium supplementation on sleep quality and night terrors which showed that magnesium supplementation reduced the frequency of night terrors in adults with restless leg syndrome, however, more studies in the field are still ongoing. 

Similarly, studies have investigated the effects of magnesium supplementation on sleep quality and night terrors which showed that magnesium supplementation reduced the frequency of night terrors in adults with restless leg syndrome, however, more studies in the field are still ongoing. The recommended dosage for adults is 320-420 mg of magnesium per day, while children are recommended to consume between 80-240 mg per day.5 In addition, Magnesium can be obtained through diet by consuming magnesium-rich foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains, or through supplementation in the form of pills or powders.

In conclusion, magnesium supplementation may be a promising treatment option for night terrors due to its ability to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. While more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of magnesium for night terrors, incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your diet or taking magnesium supplements under the guidance of a healthcare provider may be a safe and effective way to manage this sleep disorder.

Which magnesium is better used for night terrors

There are several different types of magnesium supplements available on the market, each with its own unique properties and benefits. When choosing a magnesium supplement for night terrors, it is important to consider factors such as bioavailability, dosage, and potential side effects.6

  • Magnesium Glycinate: one of the most commonly used forms of magnesium for night terrors is magnesium glycinate. This form of magnesium is highly bioavailable and easily absorbed by the body, making it an effective option for promoting relaxation and reducing the frequency and severity of night terrors
  • Magnesium Citrate: is another popular form of magnesium that may be beneficial for night terrors. This form of magnesium is also highly bioavailable and has been shown to have a calming effect on the body and mind. However, magnesium citrate may also have a laxative effect, which may be undesirable for some individuals
  • Magnesium oxide: is a less bioavailable form of magnesium that is often used for its laxative properties. While magnesium oxide may not be as effective for reducing night terrors as other forms of magnesium, it may be beneficial for individuals who also suffer from constipation or other digestive issues
  • Other forms of magnesium, such as magnesium sulfate and magnesium chloride, may also be beneficial for promoting relaxation and reducing the frequency of night terrors. However, these forms of magnesium are typically used for other purposes, such as for topical application or in medical procedures
  • When choosing a magnesium supplement for night terrors, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate form and dosage based on individual needs and medical history

How much magnesium should I take for night terrors

When it comes to determining the appropriate dosage of magnesium for night terrors, it is important to consider factors such as age, sex, weight, and individual medical history. Additionally, the type of magnesium supplement being used can also impact the recommended dosage.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium varies depending on age and sex. For adult men, the RDA is 400-420 mg/day, while for adult women, the RDA is 310-320 mg/day. However, these values are based on general dietary needs and may not necessarily apply to individuals with specific health conditions, such as night terrors.5

It is important to note that magnesium supplements can cause side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, and diarrhea, especially when taken in high doses. Additionally, excessive magnesium intake can lead to hypermagnesemia, a condition in which there is an abnormally high level of magnesium in the blood, which can cause serious health problems.

Therefore, it is recommended to start with a lower dosage of magnesium and gradually increase it over time, while monitoring for any potential side effects. Additionally, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before beginning any new supplement regimen to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for individual needs and medical history.

In conclusion, the appropriate dosage of magnesium for night terrors varies depending on individual factors such as age, sex, weight, and medical history. While studies have used a wide range of dosages, it is recommended to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase it over time, while monitoring for any potential side effects. It is also important to speak with a healthcare provider before beginning any new supplement regimen.

Side effects and other concerns

While magnesium is generally considered safe for most people when taken in appropriate doses, there are some side effects and concerns that should be taken into account.

One of the most common side effects of magnesium supplementation is

  • Gastrointestinal discomfort, including diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. This is especially true when magnesium is taken in high doses or in forms that are poorly absorbed, such as magnesium oxide
  • Interact with certain medications, such as antibiotics, diuretics, and medications used to treat osteoporosis. This is because magnesium can interfere with the absorption and efficacy of these medications, and can also increase the risk of side effects
  • For individuals with kidney disease, there is a risk of magnesium accumulation in the blood, which can lead to hypermagnesemia. This can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, weakness, and cardiac arrest in severe cases

It is also important to note that magnesium supplements may not be appropriate for individuals with certain health conditions, such as heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, or neurological conditions. In these cases, magnesium supplementation may need to be monitored closely by a healthcare provider.

Finally, it is important to select the appropriate type of magnesium supplement, as different forms of magnesium have different absorption rates and bioavailability. For example, magnesium citrate is highly absorbable, while magnesium oxide is poorly absorbed.

Summary

Night terrors, a type of parasomnia, are characterised by sudden awakenings with intense fear and autonomic arousal. Magnesium is a mineral that plays a key role in regulating the nervous system and has been studied as a potential treatment for night terrors. Research suggests that magnesium supplementation may be effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of night terrors in both children and adults. Magnesium is thought to have a calming effect on the nervous system, promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality.

The appropriate dosage of magnesium for night terrors can vary depending on individual factors such as age, sex, weight, and medical history. Therefore, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before beginning any new supplement regimen to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for individual needs and medical history. Magnesium should not be used as a replacement for prescribed medication or professional medical advice. Additionally, excessive magnesium intake can lead to hypermagnesemia, a condition in which there is an abnormally high level of magnesium in the blood, which can cause serious health problems.

References

  1. Leung AKC, Leung AAM, Wong AHC, Hon KL. Sleep terrors: an updated review. CPR [Internet]. 2020 Nov 5 [cited 2023 May 13];16(3):176–82. Available from: https://www.eurekaselect.com/175642/article
  2. Popoviciu L, Delast-Popoviciu D, Delast-Popoviciu R, Bagathai I, Bicher G, Buksa C, et al. Parasomnias (Non-epileptic nocturnal episodic manifestations) in patients with magnesium deficiency. Rom J Neurol Psychiatry. 1990 Jan 1;28(1):19–24.
  3. Summer J, Iyo J. Using magnesium for better sleep [Internet]. Sleep Foundation. 2021 [cited 2023 May 14]. Available from: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/magnesium
  4. Mah J, Pitre T. Oral magnesium supplementation for insomnia in older adults: a Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis. BMC Complement Med Ther [Internet]. 2021 Dec [cited 2023 May 14];21(1):125. Available from: https://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-021-03297-z

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Aisha Mohamed

BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Adult), Nursing, Glasgow Caledonian University

Aisha Mohamed is a Registered Nurse (RN) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. With a strong academic background, Aisha has developed a comprehensive understanding of the medical field and has a deep commitment to providing quality patient care. Aisha currently works in clinical research specialty as she is passionate about improving community health through scientific medical research. These skills translate to her writing, as she is able to convey important medical information in a way that is easy for readers to understand.

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