Can You Take Magnesium For Sleep?
There are many people who take magnesium for sleep and swear that it works and provides them with better sleep quality. Sleep is crucial to our well-being and yet many of us do not enjoy restful sleep especially in the fast-paced lifestyle that many of us live in. Studies suggest that a minimum of seven hours a day is optimal for good health depending upon one’s age. 1
There are many natural sleep remedies on the market, and some contain herbs that may be contraindicated with medications that one is taking. Magnesium supplements on the other hand are generally recognised as safe to use for sleep and provide multiple benefits other than sleep quality and sleep duration.
Magnesium has positive benefits for sleep
Taking magnesium for sleep by way of supplementation is often recommended by practitioners and health professionals due to the mineral’s general safety and a lack of interactions. Taking magnesium has been linked to better sleep quality and longer sleep duration whilst a magnesium deficiency has been shown to lead to sleep disturbances and sleep deprivation. 2,3
Five benefits of taking magnesium for sleep
Taking magnesium supplements for sleep provides numerous other benefits of enhanced energy, more mental energy, and a more relaxed outlook but primarily magnesium’s benefits for sleep are:
- Improves sleep quality and duration: studies indicate that magnesium regulates the release of melatonin, which is the hormone for sleep. In addition to magnesium’s ability to influence melatonin for sleep, it also regulates GABA production which is a neurotransmitter that relaxes the body and mind. A deficiency of magnesium will hence result in sleep disturbances and may worsen stress symptoms. 4
- Improves sleep in elderly people: as we age, our sleep patterns can be disrupted. There are several reasons for this including increased stress hormones and lower melatonin levels. In one study, elderly people who took magnesium for sleep experienced statistically significant sleep scores in comparison to those who took a placebo. Aside from better sleep quality, these participants also reported increased alertness in the morning which can be problematic for many people taking sleeping tablets. 5
- Improves muscle relaxation: magnesium is required for muscle function; it helps relax muscles and nerves and this property can ease tension and promote a deeper night’s sleep.
- May help reduce stress levels: we all know that high stress levels cause disruptions in our sleep. Magnesium plays an important role in what is termed the stress response; when magnesium levels are low, the threshold for activating cortisol decreases resulting in increased stress and possibly sleep disturbances. To make matters worse, research indicates that stress depletes the body’s stores of magnesium which results in problems with sleep. This cycle can often be broken by taking magnesium for sleep. 6
- May reduce the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): this neurological disorder is characterised by having uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an urge to move them frequently often resulting in sleepless nights. Large numbers of the adult population experience Restless Legs Syndrome and research has demonstrated that magnesium reduces the severity of RLS symptoms and improves overall sleep quality in these individuals. 7
Including magnesium into your supplement regimen
Whilst we have highlighted one of the important functions of magnesium for sleep, in truth magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body which explains why its deficiency is globally widespread in the adult population. 8
How much magnesium should you take and when should you take it?
Magnesium is generally recognised as safe when taken at the recommended strengths. There is not an optimum dose but there is a recommended maximum daily allowance of no more than 420mg of magnesium. If you are taking magnesium for sleep, aim to take this magnesium dose approximately 30 minutes before sleep.
Which magnesium supplement should you take?
I would recommend Magnesium Complex which contains a blend of eight forms of magnesium for sleep and for the multiple other benefits and processes that magnesium is involved in. It provides a dose of 500 mg of magnesium per serving size of two capsules and you can take one or two capsules at night.
This 500 mg dose in two capsules may seem slightly higher than the maximum recommended dose however oral forms of tablets and capsules can never deliver 100% of their contents as our digestive system is simply not that efficient. Assuming we do not have inflammatory bowel concerns, then at best our digestive system delivers between 60% and 70% of most supplements and medications through the oral route and so the magnesium delivered to the body will be well below the maximum recommended daily amount even if you take two capsules at night.
Whilst it may be possible to get sufficient magnesium from our diet, this would take a considerable amount of time, planning a diet sheet, and effort. A magnesium supplement such as Magnesium Complex may be beneficial as a sleep remedy and can help to prevent magnesium deficiencies in order to have sufficient levels of magnesium for sleep enhancement as well as for all the other benefits of magnesium.
- Chaput JP, Dutil C, Sampasa-Kanyinga H. Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this? Nat Sci Sleep. 2018 Nov 27;10:421-430. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S163071. PMID: 30568521; PMCID: PMC6267703.
- Zhang Y, Chen C, Lu L, Knutson KL, Carnethon MR, Fly AD, Luo J, Haas DM, Shikany JM, Kahe K. Association of magnesium intake with sleep duration and sleep quality: findings from the CARDIA study. Sleep. 2022 Apr 11;45(4):zsab276. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsab276. PMID: 34883514; PMCID: PMC8996025.
- Depoortere H, Françon D, Llopis J. Effects of a magnesium-deficient diet on sleep organization in rats. Neuropsychobiology. 1993;27(4):237-45. doi: 10.1159/000118988. PMID: 8232845.
- Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9. PMID: 23853635; PMCID: PMC3703169.
- Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, Monteferrario F, Antoniello N, Manni R, Klersy C. The effect of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc on primary insomnia in long-term care facility residents in Italy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Jan;59(1):82-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03232.x. PMID: 21226679.
- Pickering G, Mazur A, Trousselard M, Bienkowski P, Yaltsewa N, Amessou M, Noah L, Pouteau E. Magnesium Status and Stress: The Vicious Circle Concept Revisited. Nutrients. 2020 Nov 28;12(12):3672. doi: 10.3390/nu12123672. PMID: 33260549; PMCID: PMC7761127.
- Jadidi A, Rezaei Ashtiani A, Khanmohamadi Hezaveh A, Aghaepour SM. Therapeutic effects of magnesium and vitamin B6 in alleviating the symptoms of restless legs syndrome: a randomized controlled clinical trial. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2022 Dec 31;23(1):1. doi: 10.1186/s12906-022-03814-8. PMID: 36587225; PMCID: PMC9804944.
- DiNicolantonio JJ, O'Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart. 2018 Jan 13;5(1):e000668. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668. Erratum in: Open Heart. 2018 Apr 5;5(1):e000668corr1. PMID: 29387426; PMCID: PMC5786912.
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