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Researchers studied how a melatonin, magnesium, and zinc supplement affected insomnia symptoms among 43 senior residents of a long-term care facility. Study participants were an average of 78 years old and had all been diagnosed with insomnia, with no obvious medical or physical causes (known as “primary insomnia”).
The researchers randomly selected participants to receive a supplement containing 5 mg melatonin, 225 mg magnesium, and 11.25 mg zinc mixed with 100 grams of pear pulp, or a placebo supplement of just 100 grams pear pulp. These were taken one hour prior to bedtime each day for eight weeks.
The participants provided information on their insomnia symptoms at the beginning and the end of the study. Compared with the placebo group, those who received nutrients reported:
This study suggests that among older adults who have trouble sleeping, a melatonin, zinc, and magnesium supplement can significantly improve symptoms of insomnia. Our tips on safely using a sleep-enhancing supplement and other ways to improve your sleep will help you find your way to dream time.
(J Am Geriatr Soc 2011; 59:82–90)
Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.