- Magnesium is a great sleep aid because it reduces anxiety and increases melatonin production.
- Magnesium glycinate is one of the best options for better sleep as it is well absorbed and relaxes the nervous system.
- Combining magnesium with adaptogens such as ashwagandha and l-theanine can make it more likely you’ll sleep well.
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral. But it also acts as an electrolyte. So it plays many essential roles in the body.
There are several different types of magnesium, including citrate, oxide and glycinate, all of which have their own unique benefits.
Magnesium combines with another compound to create each different type – for example with magnesium citrate, it combines with an organic salt called citrate, and with magnesium glycinate it combines with an amino acid known as glycinate.
This helps to give each kind of magnesium its own unique set of advantages.
Many people don’t get enough magnesium which can lead to symptoms of deficiency as well as less-than-optimal overall health.
Magnesium is found in foods such as dark leafy greens and nuts, but many people are also turning to supplements now to make sure they get the ideal amount.
Understandably, with there being so many different types of magnesium it can be hard to know which one is right for you.
But the good news is that one particular type of magnesium can often tackle multiple health niggles at the same time.
Why Is Magnesium Important?
Magnesium performs a number of different roles in the body, which explains why a magnesium deficiency can cause a number of different symptoms such as muscle cramping and irregular heartbeats.
But remember, we don’t just want to avoid a deficiency in a nutrient such as magnesium, we also want to get the optimum amount for good health.
Magnesium works as an electrolyte to help maintain your fluid balance. It does this in combination with potassium and sodium.
This is why magnesium is sometimes included in a post-workout drink as it helps to hydrate you more than water alone.
Magnesium also supports your muscle function too. It does this by influencing both the contraction and relaxation of your muscles. (Source)
So it can benefit you during exercise by giving you more energy, as well as helping you to relax and recover afterward.
Does Magnesium Help You Sleep?
Despite all these other benefits, one of the most popular reasons for taking magnesium is for its sleep-enhancing benefits.
One study found that adults suffering from insomnia saw clear benefits after 8 weeks of magnesium supplementation. (Source)
After this time, they were able to fall asleep in less time and stay asleep for longer. They also reported fewer nighttime awakenings too.
And this was just from taking 500mg per night, which is an achievable amount for many.
Other studies have also shown that magnesium may help you to sleep better.
But sometimes these supplements also contained other nutrients and ingredients so it was difficult to say for sure whether it was just the magnesium responsible for better sleep.
How Does Magnesium Help You Sleep?
Magnesium may help you to sleep in a number of ways. Firstly, it can reduce your levels of anxiety. And as anxiety can affect how you sleep, this is a very effective way of enhancing your rest.
Magnesium reduces your anxiety by increasing your levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA. GABA is responsible for helping you to relax. This is why magnesium is often described as nature’s tranquiliser. (Source)
Because magnesium relaxes your nervous system in this way, it can be easier to both fall asleep and stay asleep for longer, making it a wonderful sleep aid.
Magnesium can also help your muscles to relax as well, which may help with things like restless leg syndrome and other conditions that can affect your sleep quality. (Source)
And, as we mentioned above, magnesium can increase your circulating melatonin levels, meaning it may help you to fall asleep in less time, and stay asleep for a longer period of time.
This is particularly important as you age, because your natural melatonin levels can decline, making it harder for you to get the rest you need.
So introducing things like magnesium supplements and tart cherries can help to promote healthy sleep patterns, along with good sleep hygiene practices such as waking up and going to bed at the same times each day.
What’s The Difference Between Magnesium And Melatonin?
Magnesium and melatonin have some similarities, in that they both help you to sleep.
But melatonin is a hormone that your body produces in order for you to sleep. And magnesium is a mineral your body needs to get from food.
Interestingly, some of the studies looking at magnesium’s effect on sleep showed that regular supplementation with magnesium actually increased participants circulating melatonin levels, which may explain why they were sleeping better. (Source)
It can be more beneficial to take foods and supplements which promote melatonin production naturally than taking melatonin on its own.
Because if you start taking exogenous (external) melatonin, your body sometimes starts producing less.
Which Magnesium Is Best For Sleep And Anxiety?
As we mentioned, different types of magnesium have different benefits. If you have constipation or headaches, then magnesium citrate may be the best option for you.
But if you want to improve your sleep quality whilst reducing your anxiety, then magnesium glycinate may be the way to go.
This is because this form of magnesium includes the amino acid glycinate. It is very bioavailable and absorbable which helps you to get all its sleep-inducing benefits.
Other forms of magnesium such as oxide and citrate are more readily excreted and therefore work better to promote healthy bowel movements than aid sleep.
How Much Magnesium Should I Take For Sleep?
Many of the studies are looking at magnesium’s effect on sleep supplements with 500mg per day. But other guidelines suggest that taking between 320-700 mg can help you to overcome insomnia.
These amounts vary because people have different needs. This depends on how active you are, how much stress you experience and what the quality of your diet is too.
When it comes to the perfect magnesium glycinate dosage for sleep, anywhere around 300 mg should make a positive impact.
This is especially the case if you also focus on including magnesium-rich food sources in your daily diet, such as peanut butter, dark leafy greens and cashew nuts.
And remember to stick to the upper limit on your supplement of choice, as magnesium toxicity can occur and is something you want to avoid at all costs due to the potentially serious side effects it can cause, including heart rhythm abnormalities.
What Time To Take Magnesium For Sleep?
It’s a good idea to take magnesium before bed. Because this means you will get the direct effects of its sleep-inducing benefits.
You could try trying it around 30 minutes prior to bed for the best results.
One other advantage of this is that your body likes routines when it comes to sleep.
So if you do a similar series of things before bed each night your body and mind can start to associate this with going to bed and it can trigger feelings of sleepiness.
Routinisation of your supplement taking can also help you to be consistent and remember to take them as required.
For maximum effect, you could try taking magnesium alongside a sleepy time tea, or even a warm bath to increase your chances of sound sleep even more.
The Best Way To Take Magnesium For Sleep
Just taking a magnesium supplement can improve your sleep quality. But, in order to get the best results, it’s a good idea to combine it with other natural ingredients that can also maximize your sleep.
And one way you can do this is to take a carefully curated superfood blend such as Supergreen Tonik.
Because here you can gain from a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which can boost your general health. And this in turn can make it easier to sleep well.
But also, Supergreen Tonik also includes a range of adaptogens. These are traditional compounds which have been revealed to regulate your stress response and handle daily challenges with more ease and resilience.
L- theanine was traditionally used by Japanese monks to help them focus during meditation. It’s found naturally in green tea, but you’d need to consume a lot to get its mind-calming benefits.
This is just another reason to take a multi-tasking supplement which has the ability to boost your energy during the day and help you to recover at night.
So, if you’re struggling to sleep, why not give Supergreen Tonik a try to get your daily dose of magnesium, and much, much more.
Julia is a health content editor and nutritionist from Norwich, UK. She has worked as a health coach in private practice and for the national health service. She undertook an MSc in nutritional medicine to deepen her knowledge.
She enjoys producing evidence-based content which inspires people to become healthier and happier.