Written in collaboration with Simon Morris
Sleep is one of the most important body functions. Without enough, we can’t function, our moods and health suffer.
As the name suggests, these disorders can cause movement while sleeping or before sleeping, making it extremely difficult to fall asleep quickly and get good quality sleep.
Below, we’ll explain the main sleep movement disorders and things that help, including magnesium.
Restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological sleep disorder that drives an extreme urge to move the legs on lying down. RLS causes itching or burning sensations that seem to come from inside the legs.
These symptoms become worse during the night. However, if you move the legs and get up and decide to walk around, the symptoms are going to go away. This makes it extremely difficult to get comfortable.
RLS is typically treated with pharmaceuticals, lifestyle changes, nutritional therapies or a combination of these. Leg massage can help as well.
Periodic limb movements
Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is characterized by uncontrolled episodes of simple but repeated movements of the muscles.
Periodic movements don’t trigger any change in the body position, unlike RLS. Instead, this condition leads to the flexing and tightening of muscles mostly in the lower portions of the legs.
These movements may not prevent you from falling asleep; however, they can constantly disrupt sleep. If you have periodic limb movements, you can be extremely tired when you wake up the next morning.
Sleep leg cramps
Leg cramps at night are intense feelings of pain and discomfort in the foot and leg, caused by uncontrollable contractions of muscles.
Leg cramps can occur whether you are awake or asleep. People who experience leg cramps (common in pregnancy) cite being woken with intense pain.
These cramps can be relieved by:
- Massaging the area of the cramp
- Moving the affected leg
- Applying heat to muscles
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine, both of which dehydrate
Magnesium can help with leg cramps — as evidenced by the number of Natural Calm users who testify to relief from cramping.
Sleep rhythmic movement
Sleep rhythmic movement disorder (RMD) primarily occurs in children and is characterized by repeated movements of the body during periods of sleep or drowsiness. This condition can lead to banging and rolling of the head as well as body rocking. Rhythmic humming and various other sounds can occur with the movement and these can be extremely loud.
RMD is very common in infants and young children because of the way the human sleep process develops. It’s less common in older children. Generally, children don’t need treatment but if the movements are disturbing the child, interfering with the child’s sleep or causing injuries, medication may be prescribed.
It makes sense to also look at natural, nutritional therapies to calm the nervous system and promote good sleep. We’ll discuss these below.
Bruxism disorder causes clenching and grinding of teeth during sleep. It is quite common for your jaw to contract when you are sleeping. However, when the contractions are extremely strong, they can produce an unwanted sound associated with tooth grinding. Bruxism can lead to dental damage by wearing your teeth down.
Dentists may recommend a teeth night guard for bruxism. Sometimes the issue can be solved through better sleep hygiene, lifestyle changes and nutritional therapies — like taking magnesium.
How Magnesium and Melatonin Can Help with Sleep Movement Disorders
Magnesium Calms Nerves and Muscles
Because of its muscle relaxing and nerve regulating properties, magnesium is known as an effective treatment for RLS. Without sufficient magnesium, calcium stores in the body can make nerves overactive and increase muscle contraction, twitches, and spasms.
Happily for us, the muscle-relaxing properties of magnesium aren’t limited to the legs. It can help relax all muscles in the body, while simultaneously helping the brain to sleep.
If there’s a particular spot that often tenses and disrupts sleep, topical magnesium can be applied to the cramped area for relief.
As a preemptive measure, take Natural Calm as a sleep aid to ease you off to dreamland and help your muscles relax in the process.
Melatonin Regulates Circadian Rhythms
In studies of melatonin for pediatric sleep disorders, researchers have found that supplementing with melatonin can be safe and effective — not only for primary sleep disorders, but also for sleep disorders linked to neurological conditions.
There is some evidence that melatonin interacts with GABA, an amino acid known as a calming neurotransmitter. GABA is one of the key ingredients in Calmful Sleep, together with magnesium, melatonin and l-theanine. It’s also part of the Calm Balance formula, together with other anti-anxiety ingredients, including B-12 — noted above as related to RLS.
As with any health concern, we recommend that you consult your medical practitioner to fully understand the condition and your treatment options, including the right dose of any supplement.