Magnesium has been getting a spotlight in the health news lately, especially regarding its role in helping with sleeplessness. So, is it safe? Should I give my child a magnesium supplement to help them sleep?
Your body needs several essential minerals to function properly. Magnesium is one of these seven essential minerals that your body can’t make on its own. Eating avocados and leafy green vegetables are a good source of magnesium, but Mg supplements are also a common way to get this mineral into your body.
Why is Magnesium Important?
It has a significant role in a myriad of your body’s metabolic and biochemical processes. It’s the Jack-of-All-Trades mineral in your body. It’s involved in DNA and RNA synthesis, blood pressure regulation, nerve transmission, insulin metabolism, cardiac regulation, electrolyte balance, energy production, and bone development.
But the role that we’re going to focus on is the stress-response system and its effect on sleep.
How Much Magnesium Does A Child Need?
Always consult your pediatrician for a specific amount based on your baby’s weight and medical history, but here are some ranges for your reference:
- Birth – 6 months: 30 mg
- 7 – 12 months: 75 mg
- 1 – 3 years: 80 mg
- 4 – 8 years: 130 mg
Sources of Magnesium
Magnesium can be found in grains, nuts, bran, spinach, squash, okra, swiss chard, kale, peas… and a long list of other green vegetables that your child will fight with every inch of their little strength to keep out of their mouth.
I haven’t met a toddler that will choose kale over chicken nuggets. I’ll be honest, I will go back for a second helping of nuggets before putting more kale on my plate as well.
It’s not surprising that a lot of kids aren’t getting the required amount of magnesium through their diets.
What is the relationship between magnesium and sleep?
The full explanation can be found here, but it comes down to the stress-response system as I mentioned above.
Magnesium is important in controlling cortisol levels. So without sufficient magnesium, your child can’t regulate their cortisol, which leads to elevated alertness. Obviously, this is not something we want.
If your child is in constant alertness, they won’t feel comfortable and secure in the middle of a sleep cycle. Your child needs to be able to control their alertness level in order to drift easily into another sleep cycle.
So, if your child just can’t seem to go back to sleep, you might want to try a magnesium supplement. As always, consult a pediatrician before you move ahead. Also, make sure you get your supplements from a reputable source and read the ingredients.
Isn’t Teaching Sleep Skills More Important?
I know you might be thinking, “Wait, aren’t you a pediatric sleep coach? Don’t you make your living by teaching sleep skills? Isn’t this kind of an unconventional recommendation for someone in your line of work?”
My answer is, “yes”. But sometimes one simple change can make a huge difference. Whether that is removing distractions in the nursery, putting your child down to sleep, or making sure that your child has the proper diet.
If your child has a magnesium deficiency, then getting that fixed is one step toward better health and a possible fight against sleepless nights. I can’t guarantee that it will be the final cure. Teaching independent sleep skills is a must. It is a much higher factor leading to your whole family getting the sleep that they need.
Contact Tender Transitions
If you’re not sure how to pinpoint a solution to your sleep struggles, we’d love to help. We’re a team of experienced sleep coaches that can walk you through teaching independent sleep skills, create a plan that fits your family, and help you get the sleep that you crave. Schedule a free call today.