Whether you have chronic insomnia or random restless nights, the sleep struggle is real. Some peeps think magnesium can help Mr. Sandman do his thing. But is it legit? Here’s everything you need to know about magnesium for sleep.

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While it’s not an insomnia cure-all, maintaining healthy levels of magnesium might have a positive effect on sleep. Studies suggest this vital nutrient can:

  • relax your body and mind
  • lead to better sleep quality
  • improve insomnia symptoms
  • relieve anxiety or depression symptoms

Here’s a deep dive into the deets.

Relaxed body and mind

It’s hard to drift off to dreamland when you’re stressed AF. A 2011 research review suggests magnesium can relax your body and mind, which might help you fall asleep.

It does this by activating your parasympathetic nervous system — the part of your autonomic nervous system that controls your body’s functions when you’re at rest. Woo, science!

But wait — there’s more! Magnesium also helps regulate sleep-related neurotransmitters that send signals throughout your brain and nervous system.

Additionally, according to research from 2012, magnesium helps regulate melatonin — the hormone that guides your body’s sleep-wake cycles.

Better sleep quality

Sleeping 8 hours a night is great and all, but sleep quality is hella important too. And magnesium may help you get a better snooze sesh.

A 2021 review of three studies found that magnesium improved sleep quality in older adults.

Researchers in a small 2012 study in 46 older adults also found that the participants who took magnesium supplements had more sleep time and better sleep efficiency than those who took a placebo.

Reduced insomnia symptoms

Some research suggests magnesium can improve insomnia symptoms. A 2018 study found that magnesium lessened insomnia symptoms in female participants. However, the study’s male participants did not have the same positive results.

In a small 2019 study with 60 participants, those who took a magnesium-melatonin-vitamin B complex supplement daily for 3 months experienced improvements in insomnia symptoms and sleep disturbances.

But we still need more research on magnesium alone to find out more about the potential sleep perks.

Relief from anxiety or depression

Anxiety and depression can play a major role in your sleep schedule. According to a 2019 study, these mood disorders can increase the risk of insomnia and decrease sleep quality.

Since magnesium has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve depression symptoms, it might help you get your sleep back on track. But again, we need more studies before we can say for sure.

Research also suggests that stress can make your body burn through magnesium faster. This can lower your body’s magnesium reserves, leaving you without enough magnesium to help stave off future stress. Maintaining healthy levels of magnesium might help break this cycle.

Magnesium deficiency can mess with your sleep directly and indirectly. It can interfere with lots of important bodily functions, ranging from your cardiovascular system to your metabolism. All this can play a part in sleep problems.

BTW, some folks are at a greater risk for magnesium deficiency. This includes people who have:

  • Digestive diseases. Digestive tract issues can make it harder for your body to absorb minerals and vitamins efficiently.
  • Diabetes. Insulin resistance or diabetes can deplete your body’s magnesium stores more quickly.
  • Alcohol dependence. Magnesium depletion is more common in people who drink alcohol heavily.

There’s no magic amount of magnesium that can help you sleep. Your best bet is to stick to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and see if that helps.

According to the National Institutes of Health, here’s how much magnesium you should get on the daily:

Birth to 6 months30 mg30 mg
7–12 months75 mg75 mg
1–3 years80 mg80 mg
4–8 years130 mg130 mg
9–13 years240 mg240 mg
14–18 years410 mg360 mg
19–30 years400 mg310 mg
31 and older420 mg320 mg

FYI: Pregnant folks should get an extra 40 milligrams (mg) a day on top of the normal RDA.

The best way to hit your RDA is by eating a balanced diet full of nutrient-dense foods. Here are some top-notch examples of magnesium-rich foods to fill your plate with:

FoodServing sizeMagnesium
acorn squash1 cooked cup21% of the Daily Value (DV)
almonds1 ounce18% of the DV
avocado1 medium avocado9% of the DV
beet greens1 cooked cup23% of the DV
black beans1 cooked cup 29% of the DV
buckwheat1 cooked cup94% of the DV
cashews1 ounce20% of the DV
halibut1/2 fillet (159 g)12% of the DV
navy beans1 cooked cup 23% of the DV
plain low fat yogurt1 cup10% of the DV
pumpkin seeds1 ounce19% of the DV
quinoa1 cooked cup28% of the DV
salmon1 medium fillet (227 g)19% of the DV
scallops3 ounces19% of the DV
spinach1 cooked cup37% of the DV
Swiss chard1 cooked cup36% of the DV

Magnesium supplements are generally considered safe when taken correctly. Most adults should be fine with doses of less than 350 mg a day. But an excessive magnesium intake might lead to serious side effects like:

  • difficulty breathing
  • low blood pressure
  • irregular heartbeat
  • muscle weakness
  • cardiac arrest

Poop PSA: Even if you take less than 350 mg a day, magnesium might trigger tummy troubles like nausea, cramps, or diarrhea. So be sure to talk with a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet or supplement routine.

Magnesium is a vital nutrient that helps your body function in lots of important ways. Getting enough magnesium may help relax your body and mind, improve your sleep quality, reduce insomnia symptoms, and relieve depression or anxiety symptoms. All this can lead to a better sleep cycle.

The best way to get magnesium is by eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes some of the magnesium-rich foods mentioned above. You can also try a magnesium supplement if you’re not getting enough through your diet.

If you think you might have a magnesium deficiency, a healthcare pro can run a simple blood test to let you know for sure.

Sweet dreams!