I am an anxious person. I worry about big things, little things, things I can and can’t control. For my entire adult life people have complimented me on my level-headedness and ability to be even-keeled in stressful situations, which is funny because on the inside I’m often freaking out. (What’s that saying about ducks? Calm on the surface and paddling like hell underneath? That’s me!) I manage this by being both a researcher and a planner, constantly thinking about the “what ifs” and how I would handle them. This usually allows me to work through my anxiety in advance, and I do think I tend to make better decisions because of it. Sometimes though, there’s just too much going on at once, or I’m faced with a problem I don’t yet know how to solve and I can’t make that tight feeling in my chest or the pit in my stomach go away. It negatively affects my day and often creeps into my night as I lie in bed, unable to sleep, because I can’t shut off my brain.
There are lots of things I do to cope with my anxiety, from taking walks, to cuddling my dogs, to eating well (resisting sugar and empty carbs is a big one for me). A few years ago, I also started taking a magnesium supplement. I noticed an immediate improvement in my mood and I’ve been taking it off and on ever since. Aaron takes it for stress and the occasional back pain he gets at night, with equally good results.
I’m sure lots of brands work well, but the one we take is called Natural Calm and we buy it on Amazon (Whole Foods sells it, but it’s more expensive there). It’s a powder that you add to hot water and I think you’re supposed to drink it throughout the day to even out absorption; we usually just make ourselves a mug of it to sip before bed. All of the flavors are decent if somewhat artificial-tasting, but we like the cherry best because it’s not quite as tart as some of the others. They make an unflavored version too, if that’s more your speed.
In addition to an immediate mellowing out, I notice I sleep much, much deeper when I take magnesium. Aside from maybe needing to get up to pee (because I did just drink a mug of water before bed), I pretty much always sleep straight through the night with zero tossing and turning or trying to troubleshoot my life. The only thing you do need to be cautious of is starting slowly—maybe half a teaspoon the first day, and working your way up to the full 2 rounded teaspoons (again, this is with using Natural Calm; other brands may be different in their dosage). This is because magnesium is a laxative and it will clear you out if you take too much too soon. That said, it’s great if you could use a little help clearing out. 😉
Have you ever taken magnesium for stress/anxiety/better sleep? Did you find it helpful?
As with all things health-related, please make sure to do your own research and consult with your doctor if you have questions about magnesium. This is only my personal experience and what’s worked well for me.
Photo by Kira auf der Heide.