Sleep is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, and yet many people struggle to achieve a restful night’s sleep.
While there are various factors that can impact sleep quality, one often overlooked element is magnesium. This vital mineral plays a crucial role in supporting numerous bodily functions, including the regulation of sleep patterns.
In this article we’ll go into everything you need to know about magnesium for sleep, exploring its benefits, dosage instructions and safety precautions, to help you optimise your sleep routine and wake up feeling refreshed.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in various processes within the human body. It’s involved in energy production, muscle and nerve function, protein synthesis, and more.
One of the primary functions of magnesium is maintaining healthy bone structure. It works alongside calcium and vitamin D to support bone density and strength.
Magnesium also plays a crucial role in muscle function, helping to relax and contract muscles. It is involved in the regulation of muscle contractions, including those of the heart, making it essential for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
Furthermore, magnesium is involved in the production and regulation of energy within the body. It contributes to the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy molecule in cells.
Magnesium is also involved in the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and proteins, making it essential for cellular growth and repair.
Does Magnesium Help With Sleep?
Magnesium has been shown to have a positive impact on sleep quality and can potentially help people struggling with sleep-related issues. One of the main reasons magnesium aids in sleep is its ability to promote relaxation.
As a natural relaxant, magnesium binds to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the brain, which are responsible for calming neural activity. By enhancing GABA function, magnesium helps reduce anxiety, quiet the mind, and prepare the body for sleep.
Magnesium also plays a crucial role in regulating melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep-wake cycle. Adequate levels of magnesium are necessary for the production and release of melatonin, which helps signal the body that it’s time to sleep.
Having enough magnesium in your body can help you fall asleep easier, stay asleep longer, and prevent you waking up in the night.
As a muscle relaxant, magnesium can alleviate sleep disturbances caused by muscle tension or cramping. It helps relax skeletal muscles, preventing involuntary contractions or spasms that can disrupt sleep. By easing muscle tension and promoting a state of relaxation, magnesium contributes to more restful and uninterrupted sleep.
Benefits of Magnesium For Sleep
1. Improved sleep quality
Magnesium can help improve the overall quality of sleep. By promoting relaxation and calming the nervous system, it helps people have a deeper, more restful sleep.1
2. Sleep onset
Many people struggle with falling asleep quickly. Magnesium can help speed up the process of falling asleep by regulating levels of melatonin, which is a hormone involved in the sleep-wake cycle.2
3. Sleeping through the night
Magnesium’s muscle-relaxing properties can help reduce muscle tension and cramping, decreasing the likelihood of night-time awakenings and promoting a continuous sleep cycle.3
4. Reducing sleeplessness
Magnesium supplementation has shown promise in reducing sleeplessness associated with sleep conditions, including reducing sleep latency and improving sleep efficiency – ultimately leading to more satisfying sleep.2
5. Help with Restless Leg Syndrome
Magnesium’s muscle relaxant properties can help ease the discomfort associated with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), a common symptom of stress and anxiety that can disrupt sleep. Magnesium promotes a sense of calmness and reduces RLS’s disruptive impact on sleep.4
It’s generally recommended to take magnesium supplements with a meal or snack to improve absorption and minimise any digestive discomfort. This approach ensures that the magnesium is taken in conjunction with other nutrients and helps facilitate absorption.
When considering meal timing, taking magnesium supplements closer to bedtime may be beneficial for those seeking its sleep-enhancing effects.
The best time to take magnesium supplements depends on why you’re taking it and your personal preferences.
If you’re taking magnesium to promote better sleep, it’s best to take it in the evening. Taking magnesium 1-2 hours before you sleep can allow it to be absorbed and help with sleep onset and quality.
Some people may experience digestive discomfort or mild laxative effects when taking magnesium supplements. To minimise this risk, it can be helpful to take magnesium with food. Taking it during a meal or snack can aid in its absorption and reduce the likelihood of gastrointestinal issues.
What Should I Not Take With Magnesium Supplements?
While magnesium is generally safe for most people, there are a few substances and medications that may interact with magnesium and should be avoided or used with caution.
Magnesium supplements can interact with certain medications, potentially affecting their absorption or effectiveness. Some examples include antibiotics and certain medications used to manage heart rhythm disorders. It’s important to consult with your doctor to determine if there are any potential interactions between magnesium and the medications you are taking.
Talk To Your Doctor
Myvitamins are not making any medical claims in this article. If you have any concerns or questions about magnesium supplementation, or are considering implementing a magnesium supplement into your routine, it is advisable to consult with your doctor.
Take Home Message
Incorporating magnesium into your sleep routine can have significant benefits for your overall sleep quality and wellbeing. This essential mineral acts as a natural relaxant, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, thus facilitating a peaceful slumber. Magnesium also plays a crucial role in regulating melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep-wake cycle, and can help alleviate muscle tension or cramping that may disrupt sleep.
By taking the recommended intake of magnesium, you can optimise your sleep routine, enhance sleep onset, reduce night-time awakenings, and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. If you are looking to improve your quality of sleep, consider implementing a magnesium supplement or magnesium-rich foods into your daily routine.
Take magnesium supplements 1-2 hours before bedtime. This timing allows for the magnesium to be absorbed and begin its relaxation-promoting effects by the time you are ready to sleep.
How much magnesium should I take at night for sleep?
Adult men can take 300mg, and adult women can take 270mg of magnesium daily for sleep. If gastrointestinal issues occur, this dose can be split throughout the day.
Is it better to take magnesium in the morning or at night?
If your purpose for supplementing with magnesium is to improve sleep quality, it is recommended to take your magnesium dose at night. Otherwise, it is safe to supplement magnesium at any time of day.
Can I take magnesium and vitamin D together?
Yes, it is generally safe to take magnesium supplements and vitamin D together. In fact, these two nutrients often work synergistically in the body and can complement each other’s effects.
Is it okay to take magnesium every day?
Yes, it is generally safe to take 270-300mg magnesium every day. However, as with any supplement or medication, it’s always advisable to follow the recommended dosage and guidelines.
Magnesium contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system.
Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, M. M., Hedayati, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 17(12), 1161–1169. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703169/
Bilbey, D. L., & Prabhakaran, V. M. (1996). Muscle cramps and magnesium deficiency: case reports. Canadian Family Physician, 42, 1348–1351. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2146789/
Jadidi, A., Rezaei Ashtiani, A., Khanmohamadi Hezaveh, A., & Aghaepour, S. M. (2022). Therapeutic effects of magnesium and vitamin B6 in alleviating the symptoms of restless legs syndrome: a randomized controlled clinical trial. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-022-03814-8
Rachel is a qualified Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) who holds an MSc in both Applied Human Nutrition and Physician Associate Studies. Over the last year, Rachel's been working as a freelance nutrition writer and coach, with her areas of interest including weight loss and specialist dietary requirements. As well as this, she's contributed towards published research on weight loss, and is currently studying the role of plant-based diets in health-conscious individuals.