Magnesium is making me sleepy & drowsy… what gives?

Magnesium making me sleepy

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Many of us begin supplementing magnesium because of the huge range of reported benefits and health improvements. This could include reducing anxiety, improving sleep, or eliminating cramps.

But what happens when magnesium starts to make us feel drowsy or tired? This is a very common side-effect of magnesium supplementation and can usually be avoided.

Why does magnesium make us feel tired?

Before we address how to fix this issue why exactly does magnesium make us feel tired in the first place? Well the answer for more people is simple.
Magnesium supplementation can benefit the body in several ways. This could include a reduction in anxiety, combatting insomnia, reducing muscle cramps, getting rid of twitches, and lessening the frequency of constipation to name a few. But did you know the reason many of these symptoms are actually addressed by magnesium is due to one simple mechanism.
It all comes down to blood pressure. One of magnesiums most effective mechanisms in the body is it’s powerful ability to reduce our blood pressure. [1] With studies showing supplementation of magnesium between 3-24 weeks with doses of 410mg on average per day can significantly and clinically reduce blood pressure. This is in part due to the impressive way magnesium can help blood vessels relax and dilate, therefore decreasing the blood pressure.
A natural supplement that can reduce blood pressure is fantastic news for those who need it. However, many people supplementing magnesium may not be suffering from low blood pressure to begin with. So why exactly is this important?

What are the symptoms of low blood pressure?

Common symptoms of low blood pressure can include dizziness or light-headedness, lack of concentration, and most importantly fatigue.

This is the issue that many people supplementing magnesium experience. We increase our dose of magnesium in hopes of reported benefits but instead we actually suffer fatigue due to our blood pressure being reduced.

If you’re one of those people who take magnesium before bed and wake up feeling groggy, tired, miserable, or like you need an extra 6 hours of sleep, you may be experiencing this exact issue.

Some other symptoms of low blood pressure to take note of:

  • Blurred vision
  • Cold clammy skin
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Depression
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration

If you feel your experiecing one or several of the above conditions, especially after supplementing magnesium, then you more than likely are experiencing low blood pressure. Worry not, this blood pressure is likely transient and temporary rather than a medical condition. Although if you’re concerned it could be worth speaking to a healthcare professional.

How do I stop magnesium making me tired or drowsy?

Whilst the diagnosis of low blood pressure is relatively easy to figure out. The specific reason you are suffering from this condition needs some personal investigation.

One of the reasons that magnesium is so effective at reducing blood pressure is it’s ability to reduce salt absorption in the gut.

Magnesium levels in the body are closely linked with Sodium, potassium & calcium metabolism; and are regulated by the kidney. Too little magnesium stimulates sodium absorption in the intestines, too much decreases it.[2]

This means when we increase our daily dose of magnesium we instruct our digestive tract to reduce the amount of salt absorbed. Again, for many people this may be seen as a health benefit- but that’s only if you have an excessive amount of salt in your diet to begin with. Remember salt is an essential mineral and without it our bodies would quickly fall into a state of confusion, depression, fatigue, and eventually death.

Minus the death part of course, do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

That’s right. Sodium or salt levels in the body act in an opposite way to magnesium. Sodium increases our blood pressure whilst magnesium decreases it. This is why keeping the two in a careful balance is essential to good health. Our bodies are pretty damn good at doing this on their own or when we’re just feeding them basic whole foods because many foods have a good balance between each mineral. Nature’s pretty smart like that.

However when we begin to supplement we are introducing massive amounts of a single mineral at one time, without any cofactors to keep them in balance. This is where we can run into troubles, especially if we’re dealing with multiple deficiencies at one time.

Are you interested in other mineral interactions and how supplements effect one another? Find every single interaction in our Ultimate Guide to Mineral Balancing within the Body


Stopping magnesium making me tired

So we’ve figured out magnesium is making us drowsy, fatigued or just plain sleepy. How do we fix it?

Well the answer is really very simple. Increase your sodium intake. You’re probably thinking what?! I’m trying to be healthy and every other health advocate advises us to stay away from excessive salt.

Not everyone’s body is built the same. What’s more many health advices are given to people who are either overweight or have a very poor diet. What category do you fall into? If you have already tried being healthy by reducing your salt intake and increasing the amount of water your drink each day then you’re a prime candidate to suffer from this issue.

A low salt diet means we don’t have much salt to begin with. An increase in water when we’re trying to be healthy will increase the amount of salt excreted in each trip to the bathroom. Finally, supplementation of magnesium will reduce the amount of salt absorbed in our intestines which will also lead to reduced salt level.

These are three actions made by people looking to be healthy and it couldn’t be worse for your salt levels.

So what steps to you take to fix it?

Step 1:

Firstly address your salt intake. Do you already have plenty of salt on your foods, or eat very salty foods to begin with? Then you can disregard this article. There are two other less common reasons that could be troubling you which I will link to at the bottom of this article. Or do you consider your salt intake to be fairly low, with your water intake to be fairly consistent? Move to step 2.

Step 2:

Here comes the bombshell remedy… are you ready? Increase your salt intake. That’s right, it really is that simple. If you have a low salt intake and have started supplementing magnesium you will begin to experience fatique, it’s as simple as that.

However fixing the problem is also pretty simple, too. My formula to find out how much extra salt is simple. Either start salting your food if you don’t already, or salt it moreso if you already do.

Now if salt isn’t palatable to you or that doesn’t combine with your lifestyle you can consume salt other ways.

Around 30 mins before or after you supplement your magnesium in a small glass of water take 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan Salt, Celtic Sea Salt, or my personal recommendation Redmonds Real Unrefined Mineral Salt.

For most people this is suitable however if you still feel the lethargic effects of magnesium, experiement with an additional 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a small glass of water every 2 hours after your magnesium supplement until you feel less tired. This is the perfect drink to have before bed and many people report a much deeper sleep when taking it.

Are you suffering from anxiety, increased urination, or are generally responding negatively to magnesium? You need to read ‘Why Magnesium Stopped Working for You – and How to Fix it!


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