Magnesium is a major mineral in your body. Found in more than 300 of your body’s enzyme systems, it helps regulate many different, important biochemical functions. Indeed, it’s necessary for the proper functioning of every cell and organ in your body. Studies have linked magnesium to a number of health benefits, including improving your sleep. Let’s look at what the science says.
The short answer is: Yes, magnesium does help improve sleep. Numerous studies attest to this. However, magnesium doesn’t directly cause sleepiness. Instead, it supports your nervous system, allowing your brain and body to relax.
Let’s look at what the research shows.
There’s significant evidence that magnesium improves sleep quality.
One sleep study had a group of adults take either 500 mg of magnesium daily for 8 weeks while another group took a placebo over that same time period. Compared to the placebo group, the magnesium group saw improvements in sleep efficiency, sleep time, sleep onset, and early morning awakening (they weren’t so groggy when they woke up). Subjects reported that they fell asleep with greater ease and stayed asleep for longer.
Another study looked at the effects of taking 500 mg of magnesium on older adults. Subjects in the magnesium group fell asleep more quickly and slept longer than those in the control group. And yet another study found that magnesium helped improve aging-related sleep issues. The evidence is overwhelming: If you’re struggling to enjoy restful sleep, magnesium supplements may be part of the solution.
It’s very difficult to get to sleep after your nervous system has been worked up. You need time to relax yourself and get your body in a state of restfulness.
It turns out that magnesium plays a role in this. Studies show that magnesium supplementation can help reduce stress by activating your body’s parasympathetic nervous system.
Magnesium is involved in regulating your body’s production of melatonin, sometimes dubbed the “sleep hormone.” It also binds to your body’s receptors of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is the neurotransmitter responsible for slowing and relaxing nerve activity. Magnesium, therefore, helps your brain and body wind down, preparing you for a good night’s rest.
Studies have consistently shown a connection between magnesium deficiencies and sleep issues. That’s likely because the existence of a magnesium deficiency makes it harder for the body to relax. Animal studies have produced similar findings. Studies of mice, for example, have shown that too little magnesium can lead to sleep disruptions.
For magnesium to improve your sleep, you have to be sure to be getting enough of it. Magnesium supplements are not a direct sleep aid that you have to take right before bed. Rather, you should eat magnesium-rich foods and take a magnesium supplement if necessary to ensure that you’re getting what your body requires.
The important thing about magnesium supplementation is to make sure you’re getting the recommended daily allowance. For men, that’s between 400-420 mg, and for women, that’s 320-360 mg.
While magnesium does not itself cause sleepiness, magnesium deficiencies can have negative effects on your sleep. That’s why it’s important, first and foremost, to identify and address any deficiency you may have.
Most of the studies pertaining to magnesium and sleep quality use doses that range from 225 to 500 mg per day. Talk to your doctor about the right course of action for you. You may also want to consider adding some more magnesium-rich foods to your diet. (More on that below.)
Very few studies have directly tested the effect of magnesium supplements on insomnia, making it hard to recommend specific amounts.
When it comes to taking magnesium supplements, you have a number of options available to you including citrate, glycinate, and L-threonate to name a few.
Studies have found magnesium citrate to have more bioavailability than some other magnesium supplements, which means that your body has an easier time absorbing it. Some subjects have found magnesium citrate to have a laxative effect.
Studies of magnesium glycinate’s effect on sleep have yielded promising results. One study found that taking a supplemental form of the amino acid glycine before bedtime can improve people’s sleep quality. Moreover, animal studies have found that oral administration of glycine reduced the core body temperature of rats, suggesting glycine’s benefits for enabling sleep; the onset of sleep routinely involves such a reduction in core body temperature.
Magnesium threonate is easily absorbed by the brain, as it can cross the blood brain barrier. It’s often used to help people address sleep issues.
Magnesium is widely available in plant- and animal-based foods. Some good sources of magnesium include:
Some foods, including some breakfast cereals, are fortified with magnesium.
Magnesium is vitally important to many functions in your body, and its benefits extend far beyond sleep quality. When incorporated as part of a healthy diet, studies have shown that magnesium can support:
If you’re looking for a top-notch magnesium supplement, look no further than Care/of’s “The Dream Weaver.” Our highly soluble magnesium supplement is sourced from Irish seawater, contains 72 trace minerals, and costs only $5 for a 30 day supply. Our magnesium can help you boost your magnesium levels and helping your body function at its optimal level.
Many studies support the idea that magnesium can improve your sleep. While not a direct sleep aid, magnesium plays an important role in regulating your nervous system, thereby helping your body relax. It also supports the reduction of stress, which in turn can make it easier to get a night’s rest. If you’re having sleep issues, talk to your doctor about whether a magnesium deficiency might be part of the problem. Eating magnesium-rich foods and even incorporating a magnesium supplement can get your body functioning properly and allow you to get the restful sleep you need and deserve.