5 Sleep Benefits of Magnesium

Sleep Benefits of Magnesium

Guest post by Abi Ja.

We all need deep, relaxing sleep to function at our best [1].

Some individuals find it easy to get the required sleep at night, while others battle with sleepless nights after a full day’s work.

Poor sleep patterns can deeply affect productivity, mood, pain and more. No wonder many people who have sleep disorders resort to sleeping pills. However, sleeping pills can be habit-forming and don’t work for everyone. If you prefer a natural solution, magnesium can help.

Magnesium is an essential nutrient in the human body.  A deficiency in magnesium has been found to cause depression, a spike in stress levels and chronic difficulties in falling asleep. In fact, low levels of magnesium can throw your body off balance and contribute to chronic health problems.

A pharmacy that offers in-office dispensing services can help you understand the benefits of magnesium for you, personally.

Although there are many long-term benefits of magnesium, here we’ll discuss specific ways magnesium works to promote sleep.

1) Magnesium Increases GABA Levels

GABA (Gamma-Amino-Butyric-Acid) is a chief inhibitory compound of the central nervous system that controls the excitement and inhibitory levels of the brain. GABA has a relaxing effect on the brain and helps to regulate activities. In an optimally functioning nervous system, a balance of inhibitory influences helps prevent insomnia, anxiety and moderate stress levels.

Magnesium has been found to increase GABA levels. It also helps to bind and activate GABA receptors, further calming the nervous system. This reaction is responsible for preparing your mind and body for sleep.

2) Magnesium Improves Cases of Insomnia

Diabetes patients, older adults and alcohol addicts may be prone to magnesium deficiency. One common symptom of a deficiency is insomnia, which is characterized by restless sleep and frequently waking up.

Healthy levels of magnesium improve sleep quality. Analyzing the effect of magnesium on insomnia among elderly people, Abbasi et al. (2017)[2] found that “magnesium helped to improve subjective measures of insomnia such as ISI score, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency.” The authors also state that magnesium improves serum renin, cortisol and melatonin in elder people.

3) Magnesium Lowers Cortisol

In their publication, ‘The Role of Cortisol in Sleep’, Bush and Hudson (2010) review the effects that cortisol has on sleep. According to the authors, some sleep problems could occur due to chronically elevated cortisol levels. However,  proper nutrition supports adrenal glands and normal regulation of cortisol. This study identified magnesium as one of the nutrients needed in adequate amounts for cortisol feedback mechanisms.

Magnesium helps to regulate the activities of adrenal glands by reducing the release of adrenaline and cortisol. This regulation can result in better sleep.

4) Magnesium Improves Anxiety and Depression

Several sleep disorders are related to anxiety. While some individuals toss and turn restlessly once in a while, others experience this restless anxiety as a routine. Some nutrients, including magnesium and calcium, are known to help anxiety. Magnesium eases stress and helps to stabilize our moods. A stable mood can help to improve sleep quality.

5) Magnesium Regulates Melatonin 

The pineal gland, located in the middle of the brain, is responsible for secreting the melatonin hormone. This hormone is particularly involved with signalling your body to sleep and wake. When melatonin production is low, we experience disruptions in sleep schedules and patterns.

Melatonin can be taken as a supplement and studies have found that magnesium helps to regulate melatonin levels, thus positively influencing sleep cycles. Magnesium and melatonin are closely related and low levels of either can lead to sleep dysfunctions.

What is the Right Dose of Magnesium?

The first step in correcting a magnesium deficiency is to pay attention to diet. Aim to consume natural foods rich in magnesium daily. These include green leafy vegetables, legumes, unprocessed whole grains, nuts, seeds and some types of fish.

Consult the recommended guidelines for magnesium intake for your weight, gender and age. If you are unsure of the right dose of magnesium for you – of if you have a health condition – consult your physician or a pharmacist. Along with in-office dispensing, your health care provider can advise you on how, when and how much magnesium to take.

Research shows that magnesium can have a significant impact on sleep quality. However, for those with chronic sleep disorders, consult a doctor.

About the Author: Abi Ja writes and researches on the topic of health and medicine. This post was submitted on behalf of Dispense Doc, an online service that promotes point of care dispensing in the US.


  1. Fullagar HH, Skorski S, Duffield R, Hammes D, Coutts AJ, Meyer T. Sleep and athletic performance: the effects of sleep loss on exercise performance, and physiological and cognitive responses to exercise. Sports Med. 2015 Feb;45(2):161-86. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0260-0. PMID: 25315456. [PubMed]
  2. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9. PMID: 23853635; PMCID: PMC3703169. [PubMed]

Sleeping Benefits of Magnesium FAQs

Magnesium glycinate is a form of magnesium that has been shown, in studies, to help prevent and treat:

  • anxiety
  • osteoporosis
  • diabetes mellitus type 2 (in conjunction with standard treatment)
  • premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • symptoms associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • heart disease and risk of stroke (in people with normal blood pressure and no history of cardiovascular disease)
  • pain due to fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome

In addition, those who have been diagnosed with manganese deficiency benefit from taking magnesium.

Taking magnesium glycinate everyday might cause an excess of magnesium. An excessive amount of magnesium can lead to:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal cramps and diarrhea
  • tiredness

Appropriate magnesium dosage can vary by age, health condition, and other medications taken. You can find a full magnesium RDA table at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

Magnesium glycinate tablets are used for the following purposes:

  • preventing and treating magnesium deficiency (for example, because of malnutrition or alcoholism)
  • treating or preventing manganese deficiency
  • helping to prevent osteoporosis

The recommended dosage is one tablet once daily with food. As always, speak with your doctor before taking magnesium glycinate if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney health problems.

There is some concern that taking magnesium glycinate might harm the kidneys over time.

While excess accumulation of magnesium in the blood can cause harmful effects (for example, muscle weakness), this does not happen with magnesium glycinate, which does not accumulate to a dangerous level in the body.

However, it’s still possible for magnesium glycinate to be harmful to the kidneys if they are already diseased.

For this reason, people with kidney disease should consult their doctor before taking magnesium glycinate.

It’s also important to let your doctor know if you have other medical conditions that affect your kidneys or other organs.

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