Many people have trouble falling and staying asleep. Establishing a routine bedtime seems not to help. Breaking the cycle of insomnia seems like forever. But a few things, like taking magnesium, is thought to help you sleep.

So many interventions have been brought on board to help people manage sleep disorders, including eliminating caffeine at bedtime, limiting exposure to blue light at bedtime, and ensuring the bedroom is darker, to mention a few. All these have fallen short, and many people still struggle with sleeping disorders despite implementing lifestyle modifications. This has turned people to use another option – supplements. One particular supplement that has been given attention is magnesium. This is an essential mineral in your body, serving several functions, promoting sleep being one of them. Keep reading to learn how magnesium can help you get quality sleep.

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, and the foods you eat also provide it. It is important for keeping you healthy and is involved in numerous reactions in the entire body. A deficiency of magnesium can make your cells and organs not function properly. Some of the key functions include strengthening bones, supporting brain health, improving brain functionality, and enhancing muscle contraction. The same goes for magnesium supplements, which have been associated with several health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and relieving constipation. Most importantly, magnesium may help manage sleep issues like insomnia. Different types of magnesium supplements are available in the supplement stores, including magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate, and magnesium oxide.

It Can Promote Relaxation of Brain and Body

Relaxation of your body and brain can make you fall asleep easily. Magnesium is important for helping you relax by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system – a system that calms and relaxes your body. Magnesium does this in its chemical state, where it controls neurotransmitters, which are responsible for transmission of impulses throughout the body. It also controls melatonin – a hormone responsible for the regulation of the sleep and wake cycle in your body. Magnesium also relaxes your body and brain by binding to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. This is a neurotransmitter that helps slow down nerve activity. GABA is often used in drugs of sleep disorders like Ambien. By slowing down the nervous system, magnesium helps orientate your body and brain for sleep.

Inadequate Intake of Magnesium Interferes with Sleep

Many people who have trouble sleeping, are also having a deficiency of this key mineral. Animal studies have revealed that the right amount of magnesium in the body is essential for normal sleep. Any change, higher or below the optimal levels, can cause sleep disorders. Some people are more likely to have low levels of this mineral, including:

Older adults:

Absorption of magnesium in many older adults is less effective, and even their diets don’t contain enough of this mineral.

People with diabetes:

Resistance to insulin signals by cells and increased insulin levels in the blood are some of the causes of gross magnesium loss.

People with digestive issues:

Problems within the digestive tract interferes with the absorption of minerals and vitamins like magnesium, leading to deficiencies.

People with alcohol dependence:

Chronic and heavy drinking is associated with deficiency of this mineral.

Responsible for Regulation of Sleep Quality

Besides relaxing your body and mind for the preparation of sleep, magnesium is also responsible for the promotion of deep and restful sleep. One study that used 500 mg of magnesium per day, found that this mineral can increase the production of renin and melatonin – hormones that promote and regulate sleep. Another study suggests that depriving yourself of magnesium can result in light and restless sleep patterns. This is because neurotransmitters are left free and molecules bind easily to neurons resulting in a restless nervous system. These results were obtained from studies conducted on older adults. It is therefore important to carry out other studies on younger adults.

May Help with Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression can severely affect your sleep. Fortunately, magnesium can help alleviate anxiety and depression for sleep promotion. This is most applicable to those who have magnesium deficiency, as a deficiency of this mineral presents with anxiety, mental confusion, and depression. Recent research also indicate that magnesium may interact with conventional antidepressants and treat anxiety effectively. This may be true because this mineral activates neurotransmitters, resulting in calming effects. If you are battling with falling and staying asleep due to an underlying mood disorder, this mineral may just be the help for you.

How To Take Magnesium for Sleep Disorders

It is recommended that adult women should take 310-360 mg of magnesium per day, while adult men should aim for 400-420 mg per day. Magnesium is abundant in drinking water so, prioritize hydration. You can also get this mineral from other foods like fish, cereals, nuts, meat, green vegetables, and fruits. Only a few studies have shown the effects of magnesium on sleep disorders, making it hard for health professionals to recommend specific amounts of this mineral. However, these studies used magnesium amounts of between 225 and 500 mg. If you consider using a magnesium supplement, the upper dosage is 350 mg per day. It will be best to avoid taking higher doses of this mineral unless under medical supervision. Keep in mind that an optimum level of magnesium is needed for sound sleep, and overdosing on it may as well interfere with sleep quality. You, therefore, need to prioritize obtaining magnesium from your diet first before opting for the supplement.

Things to Consider When Using Supplements

If you are battling with sleep problems, you may first need to implement a few lifestyle modifications, such as reducing your intake of caffeine, not bringing your phone to the bedroom, and establishing a routine bedtime. If magnesium seems fit for you, you need to know that the upper dosage per day for the supplement is 350. Side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramping.


Falling and staying asleep may be hard for most people. Supplementing with magnesium may help treat sleep disorders. It calms the body and mind, preparing them for sleep. It will be best not to exceed 350 mg of magnesium per day.


We would like to thank the below contributors who have helped us to write this article:

Strong Nutrition Panama

Nutritionist. Bluffton University, MS

In today's world, people's eating and exercise patterns have changed, and it is often lifestyle that is the cause of many diet-related illnesses. I believe that each of us is unique – what works for one does not help another. What is more, it can even be harmful. I am interested in food psychology, which studies a person's relationship with their body and food, explains our choices and desires for specific products, the difficulty of maintaining optimal body weight, as well as the influence of various internal and external factors on appetite. I'm also an avid vintage car collector, and currently, I'm working on my 1993 W124 Mercedes. You may have stumbled upon articles I have been featured in, for example, in Cosmopolitan, Elle, Grazia, Women's Health, The Guardian, and others.

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