Osteoporosis runs in my family, so I have always been vigilant about my calcium intake. Calcium — the building block for bones, teeth and nails — is also directly linked to our sleep cycles, and not having enough of it will make it difficult for you to both fall asleep and stay asleep. This article will talk about the importance of both calcium and magnesium, not only for bone health but also for your sleep, and how to make sure you are getting enough of it.
Unfortunately, we lose calcium every day through our sweat and urine, and unless we replenish it with calcium-rich foods, our bodies will take the calcium it needs from our bones. Since both calcium and magnesium are involved in our sleep cycles, having a deficiency in one or both of these minerals can mean trouble in falling asleep and staying asleep. In fact, chronic insomnia is a main (some say the main) symptom of magnesium deficiency.
Our bodies are not capable of producing calcium on their own. Calcium and magnesium, especially when taken together, are an effective sleep aid. If you have never taken a magnesium supplement before, start with a low dosage and work your way up to as much as 1,000 milligrams. Magnesium can cause diarrhea at higher doses, especially when you are just starting with the supplementation, so make sure to start slow. I take 5 tablets of the Solgar Calcium Magnesium Citrate before bed, the equivalent of 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 500 milligrams of magnesium.
I try to get as much calcium and magnesium as I can from food sources. My favorites are nutrient-dense foods, meaning they provide the most amount of nutrients for the least amount of calories.
Magnesium Rich Foods
- Dark leafy greens like chard, collard greens and kale.
- Pumpkin seeds.
- Raw Cacao Powder and Raw Vanilla Powder. I really like Bulletproof/Upgraded Self, for raw, organic, and well-sourced products. A teaspoon of vanilla in your coffee will supercharge your morning.
- Epsom Salt. Magnesium is easily absorbed through the skin, and an Epsom Salt bath is the easiest way to make that happen. My favorites before bed are the Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solution with Chamomile and Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solution with Milk and Honey.
- Grass-fed dairy products. Grass-fed cows are usually not fed genetically modified grains or exposed to rBGH, bovine growth hormones. Any byproducts of cows treated with rBGH becomes contaminated with this hormone, which has been linked to a number of diseases, including breast cancer.
- Seaweed. In addition to being loaded with calcium it also has iodine, which is vital for proper thyroid function. I always carry a package of GimMe Seaweed Snacks for when the craving for something crunchy and salty hits me.
- Sardines. I love the fresh stuff, but it can be hard to come by. My favorite canned sardines are the Wild Planet Lightly Smoked Wild Sardines.