There might be good reason why mom used to have you sip on some warm milk before going to bed. It’s turning out that calcium may be one of those minerals that is holding you back from getting the restorative sleep that you need to be at your best.
I’m going to break down why you may want to experiment with taking some calcium shortly before bed to help ensure that you get the most restful night sleep so that you can get up the next day, get your workout in, and still have the brain power to execute tasks efficiently, and effectively.
If you stick with me through the end here, I’m also going to share one of my favorite drinks that I’ve been having almost every night I am home for the past couple of years. It’s loaded with calcium but also satiates you quite nicely so you get rid of some cravings.
First and foremost. I prioritize quality sleep over the quantity of sleep. I would rather get 5 hours of stellar sleep then get 8 hours of sub par sleep that isn’t truly helping me recover, and I think most readers would agree. So the purpose of this article and this video is to give you a hack that you can use to get yourself into a deeper sleep in the shortest amount of time.
So Why Does Calcium Help you Sleep?
A lot of it comes down to our friend tryptophan…
You may have heard the old words around the Thanksgiving table that the tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy? Well there is some truth to that, and that is because tryptophan is required to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that ultimately creates melatonin. This sleep neurotransmitter essentially induces sleep in the first place.
If you don’t produce enough serotonin, you likely won’t feel too stellar. More importantly you won’t be able to create melatonin, which is created by serotonin when your body recognizes a change in light.
Tryptophan = Serotonin = Melatonin = Deep Sleep
So where does calcium come into play here?
Calcium is required for the utilization of tryptophan to make serotonin, which in turn makes melatonin. Without proper calcium intake, we don’t make the right neurotransmitters that we need, plain and simple.
But when it comes to deep sleep, it’s been found that calcium levels are highest in the bloodstream when we are in the deepest levels of sleep. this basically proves the effectiveness of calcium when it comes to reaching those REM states of sleep that we so much desire!
“According to the European Neurology Journal it was ultimately concluded that disruptions in the deepest portion of sleep were directly related to a calcium deficiency, and a normal sleep pattern was achieved following the normalization of calcium within the blood stream.”
For what it is worth, on a personal level, one thing that I noticed was that when I started taking a calcium supplement and also making sure to get a bit more calcium from my diet, was that I was calmer and had less stress in the evening time.
Now this may just be me, but it seems to be the case with a lot of people as well and it may have something to do with not getting adequate deep sleep and the disruption of brain waves caused by the calcium channels in the brain not operating properly.
What can you do?
Honestly, one of my favorite ways to get a bit of calcium in my system in a way that tastes good, is to warm up a bit of unsweetened almond milk, which has a high level of bioavailable calcium. I add a bit of agave nectar because a small amount of carbohydrates enhances the brain’s ability to uptake tryptophan as well, and sometimes a bit of unsweetened baking cocoa powder to get some antioxidant effects.
Plus, let’s not forget the fact that it’s warm makes you feel a little bit warm and fuzzy inside and might temporarily quiet the stresses from the work day.
I usually like to take a magnesium supplement with my calcium rich foods as well, simply because they can work synergistically to help each other become absorbed, but too much calcium can actually counteract some of the effects of magnesium.
Get a bit more quality sleep, and you’ll save a bit more time, while still getting the rest that you need.
Don’t let calcium (or the lack thereof) be the one standing in your way this quarter.
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Hardwick LL, Jones MR, Brautbar N, Lee DB. Magnesium absorption: mechanisms
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Pilcher JJ, Ginter DR, Sadowsky B. Sleep quality versus sleep quantity:
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