Some of you may remember my long-ago semi serious addiction to the over the counter sleep aid Nytol. I used to take 25mg before bed because my son Sam woke up multiple times in the night and it helped me get back to sleep quickly.
Then I read somewhere that prolonged use does something to your long-term memory and a week later I noticed that I had started to forget some words. Or I would look at a BMW and think “That’s a Mercedes”. I picked up a pan fresh out of the oven with my bare hands. Over and over again I would put a second teabag in a mug that already had a teabag in it. And so on.
I was taking the Nytol long after Sam stopped waking up all the time, because that’s the thing with sleeping pills. They’re probably 50% psychosomatic. And I did notice that the first two nights when I had stopped taking them were rocky. And who wants a rocky night?
Anyway I finally kicked them and you will be relieved to know that the effects on my memory and general brain health reversed quite quickly PENGUIN!
But since then I have gone through various phases of insomnia, unrelated to children, (peri-menopausal?), which are always incredibly annoying.
Moaning on about this to my friend Yoga Lara at school, she said “Magnesium”. And so I went directly to purchase a bottle of Magnesium with B6 by Solgar.
And my god, it knocks me out like a train! The added B6 also, I think, aids gum health (I might have made that up).
The best thing about magnesium to aid restful sleep is that it’s non-addictive and has no harmful long-term side effectives, unlike that other one… err… whatsitcalled…
The dosage on the bottle says 3 tablets per day, but as my diet is super-high in magnesium as it is, I only take one, just before bed. And I wake up feeling, you know? Kind of fabulous.
I doubt very much whether this would make any sort of dent in really serious insomnia but I guess it’s worth a shot. Anything for a good night’s sleep, amirite?
How about you? How are you sleeping at the moment?
I’m not sleeping particularly well at the moment, because I recently discovered I have ADHD (I know, mad) and I’m trialling medication. They’re stimulants, so they can affect sleep. The magnesium sounds really interesting, though, Esther – I might give them a go.
Has anyone ever tried melatonin? My son has them prescribed, and they make a massive difference. We also bought the flavoured melatonin online (think they came from the US, as you can’t buy them over the counter here.) But then the paediatrician told us to be wary of the US ones, as they’re classed as a health supplement and so aren’t as strictly regulated. They work, anyway – one 5mg blueberry-tasing pill and I’m out for the count.
Yes, we have the flavoured melatonin. It’s great! I take it if I’m camping or away (never sleep well in a strange bed) or just at that ‘tired but wired’ point. I can microdose too, and find that just 1 mg can help… I’ve tried magnesium and it does help, just not as much. I like a nice Epsom salts bath soak to get the magnesium through my skin. Wow with your ADHD diagnosis – interesting that you are given stimulants for it – do they help?
Magnesium is fantastic for sleep. I sometimes take a tablet but you can also spray it on to your skin or bung a load of Epsom salts in a bath before bed. All help knock me out and I am a TERRIBLE sleeper.
Totally agree – been taking magnesium at night for some time for my (peri-menopausal) insomnia. It was suggested to me that the best form of magnesium for sleep might be magnesium bisglycinate, so that’s what I take – 2 capsules before bed. I would definitely say it helps me get back to sleep quicker when I (inevitably) wake up about 3am. On a side note, not that it’s going to stop me drinking wine, but on the nights I do have a drink, by god but if my sleep isn’t a hundred times worse. Peri menopause is SUCH fun 😑😐
I also found magnesium had a miraculous effect on my dreadful digestive issues – chronic constipation if you really want to know! I’m sure it’s also has really helped with energy levels post menopause. Can’t do without it now.
I’m a dreadful sleeper and I’ve relied on sleeping tablets in the past, but now I just use pukka sleepy time herbal tablets. I know some people think herbal supplements are never going to be effective, but I find they really do help and I’ve used more serious stuff in the past. Even their herbal sleepy tea is good if you’re feeling ok but just want to be sure of a sleep. Or as lots of other people have said, if you want to be sure you’ll get back to sleep after being jolted awake by your child/ anxiety/ etc. And yes, there’s nothing worse than being jolted awake full of red wine induced anxiety at 4am. (Endless crying face emoji) Elaine x
I have been taking Magnesium Citrate – one at bedtime for the past year and it’s brilliant. I get a really good night’s sleep. I’ve had dreadful insomnia in the past and this is the best thing I’ve taken.
God, is that what the fucking insomnia is caused by? Peri-menopause? I thought is was my (justifiably) guilty conscience finally getting through … Thank you, Esther, and hello, magnesium.
Also wondrous for that other symptom of creeping age – leg cramps on a gargantuan sca
Me too. Awful awful leg and foot cramps. Will now take it more conscientiously at bedtime to help my rubbish sleep. Woke at 5 then 4 then 3 fucking am last week. Bolt awake with adrenaline pumping :-/
Funnily enough, my Nytol ‘habit’ escalated when I read that you took it regularly, Esther! Then I had a wobble about taking it too much and now I rely on my magnesium powder before bed. It definitely takes the edge off. I’ll never be a good sleeper – I can’t remember the last time I slept through to the morning in one hit – but those two hour wake ups in the night are a thing of the past. And as a previous commenter said, I am also as ‘regular’ as clockwork now 🙂
Jess! oh dear I feel terrible about pointing you in that direction. Very pleased that we have both kicked that bad habit x
Oh God no – I didn’t mean you were responsible – I was already taking it too much I think and then felt a little validated by seeing that someone else was doing the same so I continued taking it a little more often every week. I have struggled with sleep for so long and it finally feels like I am getting somewhere. Apart from the magnesium, I feel that sorting out other areas of my life has made a massive difference. Dealing with my tendency to procrastinate means I have less to worry about when I wake at night. Getting into yoga and meditation (Jesus listen to me) has given me the tools to quieten my mind when it won’t shut up in the small hours. Basically dealing with things when they come up (be it literally or mentally) rather than storing them away to stress about at a later date has changed everything!
Sorry, bit of a brain dump there…
I use Magnesium Lotion before bed as I read it absorbs more quickly and especially after a workout it’s incredible for muscle recovery. I use the BetterYou alongside their B12 and Vit D sprays. Love them!
Magnesium is a bloody life saver. I use the spray: 3 sprays on the inside of each arm every night. It stings when you first start using it (a pro told me that’s your body telling you you’re deficient in magnesium, who knew! but won’t sting after a while and your body has the right levels going on). I use any of the sprays from Holland & Barrett which they often have in their “Penny Sale” so worth stocking up on then like a mad demented woman with armfuls of the stuff at the till). I can also recco Pukka ‘Night-time’ tea, 1hr before bed..just takes the edge off. And no Insta..bah!
A Reader says
I take melatonin, but most people who take it take too much at the wrong time of day. .3mg (that’s POINT THREE) is the effective dose. This discussion is worth a read: https://slatestarcodex.com/2018/07/10/melatonin-much-more-than-you-wanted-to-know/
Yep taking this Solgar one too. Also brilliant for tiredness and anxiety and the B6 is good for generally levelling our hormonal annoyances. Miracle worker. And cheap too.
Thank you so much! I’ve never been a great sleeper and it’s gotten worse in the past year.
I’ve been sleeping terribly at the moment. I find it amusing when you bring up a topic like this and so many people fly in with “oh yes Magnesium it’s great” – everyone is so on the ball. Meanwhile I have been addressing it by sitting awake watching old Fleetwood Mac concerts on YouTube, never conceiving there might be another way. The only time I haven’t had problems with sleep is when I’ve been running regularly but I haven’t been able to do that for a while because of other health stuff so I very rapidly fall into a cycle of fatigue it’s hard to break out of. I put a handful of leftover Pom Bears into my salad this afternoon instead of croutons though I haven’t any regrets on that score I might need to consider trying something. The Nytol situation sounds quietly frightening.
Cindy I bloody love you.
I sleep bloody dreadfully….combination of stress at work, stress at home, and being a bit menopausal too. I fall asleep as soon as my head meets that pillow, then I seem to wake about every half an hour or so, until I then give up trying at around 5.00am and lie there wide awake until I get up at 6.30.
I have just ordered said Solgar Magnesium B6 tabs from Amazon….hoping and praying they make a difference! I miss sleep!
I’m so sleep deprived I read ‘Magnum’ and was envisioning (hoping for) one chocolate ice cream before bed. I took Nytol for insomnia but it left me a horrible fog. Headspace sleepcasts are good, especially the Night Town one.
CBD oil. I slept really badly for about 6 months, also peri-menopausal I think (44) – I was waking up around 3 AM and then not sleeping for about four hours. Until… I started taking 1 drop of CBD oil before bed every night. It really REALLY helps, it’s legal in many countries, does not get you high and is all natural. It is certainly not a placebo effect because I often do not even wake up for a little wee in the night now. And I can sleep in again! A talent I had lost after having children.
PS I use the one with 6% CBD (no THC).
I have the same problem (kids breaking sleep and maybe perimenopausal) and I take a piriton when I’m desperate. I try to limit it, particularly in summer when I’m taking Loratadine for hayfever. So I’m very interested in magnesium and have bought some to try out. Along with wine of course, which I find has a usefully soporific effect.
I’ve been taking magnesium at night for ages – first for restless legs from running and more recently for recovering from a muscle tear. A better sleep has been a welcome side effect and so necessary for healing. Having run out of magnesium tabs I’ve been having a 15-20 minute dunk in the spa before bed and that gives good sleep too. Full body sous vide! I would say a bath would do the trick too. However, none of these things are entirely magic and I’ll still find myself awake at odd hours, brain whirring.
Magnesium works a treat for me. Also Montmorency sour cherry juice for sleep and peri achy joints – either a tbsp shot or diluted in a little water. It has a grown up tangfastic vibe to it.
Virginia Ramkissoon says
Magnesium helps a lot with restless legs syndromes as well as aids for better night’s sleep..the caplet with vit D 3… excellent
Magnesium mentioned in this article along with other things. Interesting although mindfulness does my head in!
So I got these and have taken them the last 3 nights…. and they are giving me the craziest dreams! Anyone else? I had a very odd dream about Janet Jackson’s lips.