Getting enough sleep is crucial to our overall health and wellbeing. It’s during this time that our body regenerates, heals, and prepares for the next day. However, many of us struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. If you’re one of those people who tosses and turns all night long, you might want to consider adding more calcium to your diet.
What Is Calcium?
Calcium is a mineral that’s essential for strong bones and teeth.(1) We typically associate it with dairy products like milk and cheese because they are high in calcium. However, calcium can also be found in other foods such as leafy greens (kale, spinach), almonds and tofu.(2)
Magnesium works alongside calcium when it comes to promoting good-quality sleep.
How Does Calcium Help Promote Sleep Quality?
Calcium plays a role in regulating several bodily processes including muscle contraction and relaxation.(3) When we fall asleep at night, our muscles relax which allows us to get into a deep sleep state. This state is critical because it’s during this time that we release growth hormones responsible for repairing tissues from the wear-and-tear of daily life.(4,5)
Research has shown that there’s a direct link between low levels of calcium intake and poor sleep quality.(6,7) A study conducted on postmenopausal women revealed that taking calcium supplements helped them fall asleep faster while also staying asleep longer.(8,9)
Another way by which calcium aids in promoting better sleep quality is by helping regulate melatonin production by the pineal gland, which helps regulate the body's natural circadian rhythm.(10,11,12) The circadian rhythm regulates biological processes such as hormone secretion or metabolism.(13)
The Role of Magnesium in Relationship to Calcium
Magnesium works alongside calcium when it comes to promoting good-quality sleep.(14,15) They work together synergistically; magnesium acts as an activator while calcium acts as an inhibitor.(16,17)
One study found that participants who supplemented with both minerals had increased sleep quality and duration, especially those over the age of 50.(18,19)
Research has shown that there’s a direct link between low levels of calcium intake and poor sleep quality.
Calcium and Insomnia
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder characterized by difficulty in falling or staying asleep.(20) It can be caused by various factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, or even genetics.
Research has shown that calcium supplementation may help alleviate insomnia symptoms.(21) In one study conducted on elderly people with chronic insomnia revealed that taking calcium supplements improved their sleep quality.(22)
Other Benefits of Calcium
Aside from promoting better sleep quality, calcium also offers other health benefits. Here are some of them:
- Stronger Bones: As mentioned earlier, calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth.
- Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become brittle and fragile due to the loss of tissue. Taking sufficient amounts of calcium can reduce the risk of developing this condition.(23)
- Lowered Blood Pressure: Calcium has been found to help lower blood pressure levels in people with hypertension.(24)
- Reduced Risk of Colon Cancer: Studies have shown that calcium intake can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.(25,26)
All in all, research has shown that it plays a crucial role in promoting better sleep quality by helping regulate muscle relaxation during deep sleep states and regulating melatonin production by the pineal gland. If you're struggling with falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night, consider increasing your daily calcium intake through diet or supplements.