Nightcaps, Sleeping Drugs and Magnesium

By Carolyn Dean MD ND

Fifty years ago, when people couldn’t sleep they would often resort to alcohol in one form or another to help them relax.

Today, most know alcohol isn’t the answer.

Instead, they go to their doctor and become addicted to sleeping pills.

Did you know that benzodiazepine sleep drugs used to have a label that warned they were only to be taken for two weeks?

Ativan, one of the most common benzos was first approved in 1977. Yet Medscape admits that “The efficacy of lorazepam for long-term use (i.e., longer than 4 months) as an anxiolytic has not been evaluated.”

Come on! They’ve had over three decades to do a long-term study.

Do you want to know the reason why they haven’t done a study? They don’t want you to know that Ativan, Xanax, Valium and Librium are highly addictive. I’ve watched patients suffer benzo withdrawal – it’s a nightmare!

There are about 100 drugs approved for insomnia by FDA. Probably none have been studied for long term effects.

At least with the alcoholic nightcap… people knew what they were taking.

Of course, even better than drugs and alcohol is magnesium. Yes, it’s my solution for everything! But if you’re suffering a deficiency of magnesium you can’t expect your muscles to relax.

That’s why, before any other sleeping remedy (natural or otherwise), I recommend you make sure you’re getting as much magnesium as you need. Don’t assume 500mg is enough. You may need 1000mg!

Either way, try magnesium before anything else.

Here is just one of the many studies conducted on magnesium showing it to be a major player in the insomnia epidemic.

The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.


Nearly 50% of older adults have insomnia, with difficulty in getting to sleep, early awakening, or feeling unrefreshed on waking. With aging, several changes occur that can place one at risk for insomnia, including age-related changes in various circadian rhythms, environmental and lifestyle changes, and decreased nutrients intake, absorption, retention, and utilization. The natural N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) antagonist and GABA agonist, Mg(2+), seems to play a key role in the regulation of sleep. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of magnesium supplementation to improve insomnia in elderly.


A double-blind randomized clinical trial was conducted in 46 elderly subjects, randomly allocated into the magnesium or the placebo group and received 500 mg magnesium or placebo daily for 8 weeks. Questionnaires of insomnia severity index (ISI), physical activity, and sleep log were completed at baseline and after the intervention period. Anthropometric confounding factors, daily intake of magnesium, calcium, potassium, caffeine, calories form carbohydrates, and total calorie intake, were obtained using 24-h recall for 3 days. Blood samples were taken at baseline and after the intervention period for analysis of serum magnesium, renin, melatonin, and cortisol. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS19 and P values < 0.05 were considered as statistically significant.


No significant differences were observed in assessed variables between the two groups at the baseline. As compared to the placebo group, in the experimental group, dietary magnesium supplementation brought about statistically significant increases in sleep time (P = 0.002), sleep efficiency (P = 0.03), concentration of serum renin (P < 0.001), and melatonin (P = 0.007), and also resulted in significant decrease of ISI score (P = 0.006), sleep onset latency (P = 0.02) and serum cortisol concentration (P = 0.008). Supplementation also resulted in marginally between-group significant reduction in early morning awakening (P = 0.08) and serum magnesium concentration (P = 0.06). Although total sleep time (P = 0.37) did not show any significant between-group differences.


Supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia such as ISI score, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency, early morning awakening, and likewise, insomnia objective measures such as concentration of serum renin, melatonin, and serum cortisol, in elderly people.


Try this new powdered magnesium supplement for your sleeping troubles and see if you don’t get some relief.

Amino Acids are also linked to better quality sleep. However, a large segment of the population today suffers with intestinal related problems that interfere with protein metabolism. All protein must be broken down into amino acids. There is a direct connection to amino acid imbalance and sleeping troubles. If you want to address these pertinent issues then try the combo kit below.


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