A Cure For Insomnia?

insomnia

insomnia (Photo credit: babblingdweeb)

I have battled insomnia for all of my life.  I got the double whammy in terms of insomnia, both the inability to fall asleep and the inability to stay asleep.  This results in me spending an extremely long time in bed just to get a decent amount of sleep and I never wake up feeling refreshed and full of energy.

Five years ago as part of another medical problem my smart doctor thought to ask about sleeping problems and gave me what I call my happy brain drugs (a low dose of tricyclic antidepressant). This drug tells my brain what is supposed to do with serotonin when it comes time to go to bed.  This has dropped how long it takes me to fall asleep from around 2 hours to about 30mins.  But still I have problems staying asleep.

Enter the unlikely hero – magnesium/calcium supplements.  I have done a lot of reading about insomnia and magnesium deficiency was one of the things that kept popping up as a cause of insomnia. Since it is likely that I do have a magnesium deficiency I decided to buy 15 tablets and give it a try.

This stuff is magical.  I stupidly took the first dose about 3 hours before my usual bedtime and within 30mins I was struggling to keep my eyes open, so now I take it just as I’m going to bed.  This gives me time to read before entering the land of nod. I find I am falling asleep easier and staying asleep for longer.  I still wake up during the night but now it is only once or twice rather than 5 or more times and I can fall back asleep.  For the first time ever, I’m waking up before my alarm and feeling like I have some energy.

I know that magnesium supplements won’t work for everyone with insomnia due to the many different things that causes it.  However, if you have tried all the other tricks, like I had and are still having problems, I would recommend giving the magnesium supplements a go.  The ones I take dissolve in water so tablets might have a different reaction time, so play around with the timing of taking it.  However, do not exceed the recommended dose.  Supplements, though they sound natural and safe, can have very bad consequences if you take more than the recommended dose.

If you do try the magnesium supplements, let me know how it goes.  I’m eager to know how effective they are beyond a sample size of 1.

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14 thoughts on “A Cure For Insomnia?

  1. I too have had serious problems with insomnia. Mine have all been connected to anxiety. Either anxiety that kept me from falling asleep (Usually anxiety caused, ironically, by worrying that I wouldn’t sleep) or anxiety that sneaked up on me when sleep had actually set in.

    Neither is pleasant but the latter has, in my books, always been worse.

    For a while medical intervention was necessary for my own sanity but I have since been medication free for well over a year AND sleeping just fine outside of the occasional, survivable hic-up.

    But I totally recommend medication as a spring board – after talking to a doctor, of course.

    I also recommend:
    1. going to bed and getting up at the same time every day so you have a regular pattern.
    2. Not watching TV, staring at a computer screen, looking at a video game monitor etc. in the hour before you want to go to sleep so that your body can produce some melatonin.
    3. Avoiding caffeine after 3pm (No, this is not as difficult as it seems).
    4. Using your bedroom for sleep and nothing but sleep and only sleep – but sometimes sex – but primarily sleep.
    5. Regular exercise, but never in the evening.
    6. Accepting that sometimes you won’t sleep and that it’s O.K. and it won’t kill you – seriously, not caring about whether or not you get to sleep is a sure-fire way to get some.

    • I agree that medication may be needed for some forms of insomnia, but, in my opinion, it is best to try more natural methods like the ones you have recommended and my suggestion of magnesium supplements before going down that route.

  2. I’m glad this is working for you. Luckily, I haven’t suffered from insomnia but any time I don’t sleep enough, I am a mess so I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to deal with this on a regular basis. Here’s hoping that this continues to work for you!

  3. Yep, magnesium works for me too. I started taking it for a different reason and found that I dropped off faster. All good.

    Glad it’s working for you.

    • What was the reason you started taking it? I’m hoping it will also have an effect on the horrible foot cramps I get. So far I haven’t had one since taking the magnesium. Not sure if that is just coincidence or the magnesium.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restless_legs_syndrome

        My mother and grandmother both have it too. It’s extremely annoying. Dietary changes can help, but I won’t give up my wine ;)

        I had bad night cramps earlier this year. Front AND back of the lower leg. It resulted in a freaky dance, I don’t mind telling you. I got back on the Mag’ and they went away. Oh, and I also increased my salt intake. It’s fine as long as your cells have a balance of potassium and salt. Imbalance is when the probs start.

        Do you have enough salt in your diet?

        • That is a good question. I tried to cut down on my salt, never add it to my cooking etc, but I wonder if I have cut down too far. I’ll look into that.

          Good luck with the RLS. I hope the magnesium is doing its magic.

  4. Glad to hear you are finally finding something that works for you. You should check out some articles on our blog. We specialize in sleep and hope some of our tips can aid you in your journey for a better night’s sleep.

  5. This is fascinating! What is in magnesium that we need and what is it in that we don’t get enough of? Perhaps I should try this.

    • Magnesium is needed for building bones, releasing energy from muscles and regulating body temperature and is in food that I don’t eat like nuts. I’m not sure why it helps with insomnia, but I’m glad that it does.

  6. Wow, I had no idea that magnesium was helpful with insomnia! Usually I take it after exercise (also the fizzy kind that dissolves in water) because it helps relax muscles (which may be related to helping with sleep?).

  7. I haven’t tried magnesium… I’ve always tried/been told to try Melatonin, but it just causes me to have nightmares (it’s a side effect of the supplement), which then prevents me from having a ‘good night’s sleep’. D;

    I’ll have to try that, though. :P

    • I’ve read that Melatonin was supposed to be good for insomnia, but I didn’t like the list of side effects. I’m not sure if magnesium is as effective as Melatonin but it is working for me. Let me know if it also works for you.

  8. Pingback: Cara Mengatasi Insomnia « Guru Sejati

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