Will Magnesium Help My Baby Sleep?
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is one of seven essential minerals that the body needs to function normally. It’s not produced in the body, so it has to be obtained through external sources. It needs to be consumed through foods or supplements. If you have heard that it can be absorbed through the skin with oil or skin cream, see the last paragraph for a little more on that subject.
What role does magnesium play in the body?
Magnesium is the Swiss Army Knife of minerals. It plays hundreds of different roles. It’s involved in almost every major metabolic and biochemical process. It helps in DNA and RNA synthesis, blood pressure regulation, nerve transmission, insulin metabolism, cardiac regulation, electrolyte balance, energy production, bone development, and the all-important stress-response system, which we’ll get back to shortly.
How much does a child need?
Daily magnesium requirements vary substantially by child and age range, but here are some ballpark numbers for reference. Your pediatrician will be much better suited to giving you some specific numbers based on your baby’s weight and medical history.
Birth - 6 months: 30 mg
7 - 12 months: 75 mg
1 - 3 years: 80 mg
4 - 8 years: 130 mg
How is it usually obtained?
Ideally, we should be getting our required intake of magnesium through our diet. It can be found in a wide variety of foods, including grains, nuts, bran, spinach, squash, okra, swiss chard, kale, peas…
It’s not really surprising that a lot of kids aren’t getting the required amount of magnesium through their diets. I couldn’t find the magnesium content in the nutritional info of Dino-Nuggets, but I’m willing to bet that it’s not particularly high, and I’m sure we’re all well aware of the difficulty of trying to feed your kids
What does Magnesium have to do with sleep?
Magnesium plays a big role in the body’s stress-response system. Without sufficient magnesium, the body struggles to regulate cortisol levels, which leads to elevated alertness levels. That’s obviously something we want to prevent when your baby is going from one sleep cycle to the next during the night. What we’re really striving for when we’re trying to get a baby sleeping through the night is the ability to feel comfortable and secure when they stir after a sleep cycle, realize they still need more sleep, and then drift effortlessly back into another cycle. Elevated alertness and stress levels will obviously make that a lot more difficult.
So if your little one is waking up frequently during the night and having a hard time getting back to sleep, then yes, absolutely, you might want to try a magnesium supplement. As always, consult with your pediatrician before you go ahead with it, make sure you know how much to give them, get your supplements from a reputable source, and always be sure to read the list of ingredients when you’re considering what to get.
Magnesium and your baby's sleep
The truth is, not every baby who doesn’t sleep well is in need of a major overhaul of their sleep habits. If there’s a quick and easy fix that can get them (and their parents) sleeping through the night, I’m all for it!
And yes, sometimes there really is a quick and easy fix! It’s not the norm, but I’ve seen it plenty of times. Taking away the iPad an hour before bed, getting rid of distractions in the nursery, there are situations where making one simple adjustment can make a world of difference, and when that’s the case, I love being able to pinpoint it, make the change, and see the impact it has on the family’s health and well-being.
If your baby’s got a magnesium deficiency, getting that sorted is a great step towards better overall health, and it just might be the cure for their sleepless nights. If you continue to struggle afterwards, however, I’m here to help you take the next step and teach them those fundamental sleep skills so that your whole family can start getting the sleep you need.
I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about transdermal magnesium therapy, which is the absorption of magnesium through the skin from oils and creams. (Some people have a bad reaction to oral magnesium supplements.) I’m not in a position to say one way or the other, but I would just like to mention that there’s a fair bit of scientific dispute about whether or not this method actually works.
If you would like 1-1 help for cultivating healthy sleeping habits in your infant or toddler, contact me hhttp://sleepybabycoach.com/book-onlineere. I've helped families worldwide create sustainable sleep solutions and can do the same for you.