Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Sleep Aid that Works... Too Well

I'll Have What He Had
I don't know about you, but I tend to get giddy 
when trying new supplements. I suppose it's because I don't know what to expect until I try it. I'm not sure how my body will react. My body is the experiment, but I am also the scientist. I am the guinea pig and the administrator. I'll gladly put my body on the line for the sake of myself. Will it work? Will I feel anything? Any hardcore drug user would laugh at the thought of tinkering with your calcium levels, but that's exciting enough for me.

For this experiment, I decided to try Magnesium Citrate. It was recommended by Robb Wolf (author of The Paleo Solution) as a way to balance out your calcium and magnesium levels, and as an added bonus, it puts you to sleep faster than Diane Rehm reading you a bed time story. I found Natural Calm, by Terry Gillham in the supplement isles of Whole Foods. It was roughly twenty dollars for a container. I opted for the un-flavored variety.

Day 1
After twisting the cap, a burst of white powder fills the air. It smells citrusy. I want to know more. I measure one teaspoon and mix it into a glass of hot water. To my delight, it fizzles and cracks as the white powder diffuses into the water. Here is goes; I take a sip. Not too bad. It tastes like lemon tea. 

I sit back on my bed and continue to read more of "The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy." As I turn the pages, I begin to feel eerily at ease. A slight numbing sensation envelopes my body. It's similar to the feeling of playing outside in the snow and then going inside to sip hot chocolate by the fire. It is oddly comforting, and initially I am enthralled by it. Success! I think to myself, and moments later I am passed out in my bed.

Day 2-14
I continued to use the product and my sleep was fantastic. I even wrote a post after waking up a 6am, which I never do, wide awake and ready for the day. But that day was an anomaly, and I could not repeat the success of waking up in the morning feeling so refreshed. Not only that, but I was beginning to feel a little more relaxed during the day. All day long. I am normally a low-key person. It takes a lot to get me excited, and this supplement was making me even more relaxed. I suppose I should have seen this coming. It does claim to be an anti-stress drink.

I welcome relaxation, especially when I am prone to anxiety, but this was too much. My mind felt slow. I was lethargic. Words were hard to find, and I just felt generally off. But my sleep was excellent. Was it worth sacrificing my waking life for quality time spent in the sheets? Heck no.

Ultimately I did not want that trade off. Magnesium supplement works - maybe too well - at relaxing your body and your mind. I would rather have marginally worse sleep and still have an active mind then vice versa. But all is fair in experimentation. My goal was to try it out. I wanted to know if it would work for me as it did for others. My results seem uncommon, and through research I was unable to find results like mine (where someone feels mentally dull as a result of Magnesium). But now you have at least one documented case.

This is not meant to scare you from trying it. I offer my findings, so that you may better inform yourself when looking to Magnesium as a sleep aid. I've tried a lot of different things to get better sleep, but the one that works the best: a pitch black room. I'd like to see GNC try to put that in a store.