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.
- 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 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.
Better sleep quality
A 2021 review of three studies found that magnesium improved sleep quality in older adults.
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.
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.
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 months||30 mg||30 mg|
|7–12 months||75 mg||75 mg|
|1–3 years||80 mg||80 mg|
|4–8 years||130 mg||130 mg|
|9–13 years||240 mg||240 mg|
|14–18 years||410 mg||360 mg|
|19–30 years||400 mg||310 mg|
|31 and older||420 mg||320 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:
|acorn squash||1 cooked cup||21% of the Daily Value (DV)|
|almonds||1 ounce||18% of the DV|
|avocado||1 medium avocado||9% of the DV|
|beet greens||1 cooked cup||23% of the DV|
|black beans||1 cooked cup||29% of the DV|
|buckwheat||1 cooked cup||94% of the DV|
|cashews||1 ounce||20% of the DV|
|halibut||1/2 fillet (159 g)||12% of the DV|
|navy beans||1 cooked cup||23% of the DV|
|plain low fat yogurt||1 cup||10% of the DV|
|pumpkin seeds||1 ounce||19% of the DV|
|quinoa||1 cooked cup||28% of the DV|
|salmon||1 medium fillet (227 g)||19% of the DV|
|scallops||3 ounces||19% of the DV|
|spinach||1 cooked cup||37% of the DV|
|Swiss chard||1 cooked cup||36% 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.