Magnesium has earned its reputation as a mineral for relaxation.
Known as “the original chill pill”, “the anti-stress mineral”, and “the sleep mineral”, magnesium helps your body and mind to unwind—naturally.
If you’ve been low in magnesium (and many people are), you might notice the difference in your sleep right away when you increase your intake.
“Is magnesium good for sleep? It’s great for sleep. People constantly write in and tell us in person how Natural Calm magnesium has changed their sleep,” says Linda Bolton, CEO of Natural Calm Canada.
If you are feeling under-rested because of poor sleep, magnesium may be the answer. Read on to find out how this key mineral helps with sleep.
Getting Enough Sleep is Critical for Health
We can’t always control how much time we have to sleep, so it’s important the time we do have is spent in deep, restful, restorative sleep.
A study published in 2018 revealed that nearly one-third of those surveyed are sleeping fewer than six hours each night, and it can take a toll on our health. In the short term, too little sleep makes us less alert, affects our memory, and makes us moody and lethargic.
Prolonged lack of sleep may impact body weight, immune health, blood pressure, and heart health.
The National Sleep Foundation recently updated its recommendations for sleep duration. While children and teens need more and older adults need slightly less, the average adult should get between 7 and 9 hours of quality sleep every night.
If you are getting less than 7 hours of sleep or feeling tired on most days, consider whether you’re getting enough magnesium.
Sleep Benefits of Magnesium & How it Works
Magnesium is an essential nutrient necessary for every system of the body. Although there are many long-term benefits of magnesium, here we’ll discuss specific ways magnesium works to promote sleep.
Research shows that healthy levels of magnesium improve sleep quality for people of all ages.
Magnesium supplementation can significantly increase both sleep time and quality. It can also shorten the time it takes to fall asleep.
By lessening the body’s production of adrenaline and cortisol, and increasing GABA levels in the brain, magnesium calms the nervous system for sleep. It also relaxes muscles across the body and facilitates the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.).
1) Magnesium Calms the Mind
Not only is magnesium useful in relaxing the muscles. It can also relax the brain. There are two ways magnesium does this.
First, it activates the nervous system’s parasympathetic branch. Parasympathetic activation leads to a reduction in the intensity and frequency of brain activity, so you wind down mentally.
Second, magnesium regulates certain hormones and brain neurotransmitters that control stress and anxiety.
Magnesium helps to regulate stress and anxiety by reducing the release of adrenaline and cortisol. This regulation can result in better sleep.
Magnesium has also been found to increase Gamma-Amino-Butyric-Acid or GABA levels in the brain. GABA has a relaxing effect on the brain.
2) Magnesium Relaxes Muscles
One of the essential requirements for good sleep is body relaxation. The more your muscles are relaxed, the better are your chances of a good night’s sleep.
In order for your muscles to function properly, you need the right amount of both calcium and magnesium within muscle cells.
Calcium is what makes muscle fibres contract, whereas magnesium is what allows them to relax. Without enough magnesium to balance the calcium, muscles remain tense, causing them to spasm and twitch.
Upping your magnesium helps calm those muscles, and relaxed muscles can lead to better sleep.
That is why magnesium is also given to people who experience muscle pain. If the essential element can address muscle spasms and cramps, it should have no problem relaxing your muscles and getting you ready for bed.
3) Magnesium Regulates Melatonin
Magnesium and melatonin are closely related and low levels of either can lead to sleep dysfunctions.
The pineal gland, located in the middle of the brain, is responsible for secreting the melatonin hormone. This hormone is particularly involved with signaling your body to sleep and wake. When melatonin production is low, we experience disruptions in sleep schedules and patterns.
Studies have found that magnesium helps to regulate melatonin levels, thus positively influencing sleep cycles. Scroll down and read the section below for more information on taking magnesium with melatonin.
4) Magnesium Eases Pain (so you can sleep)
Sometimes our bodies are ready for sleep, but pain keeps us awake. If you have headaches, migraines, back pain, arthritis, or experience any kind of chronic pain, it undoubtedly affects your sleep.
In good news, magnesium helps to reduce pain of all kinds. It downgrades inflammation and may help with arthritis.
Magnesium treatment is also shown to alleviate neurological pain, fibromyalgia, dysmenorrhea, headaches, and acute migraine attacks.
So, if pain is keeping you awake at night make sure you’re getting enough magnesium.
5) Magnesium Improves Restless Leg Syndrome
Are you having difficulty falling and maintaining sleep because of the odd feeling of pins and needles pricking your legs? You might also have a very strong, uncontrollable urge to move your lower limbs, especially when you are already on your bed.
You are not alone. One in ten people complains of ‘restless leg syndrome.’ The condition is most severe when you are inactive or resting, such as when you are sleeping. The uncontrollable urge to move will keep you awake at night, preventing you from getting a much-deserved sleep.
The Mayo Clinic recommends magnesium as a natural remedy for RLS symptomatic management, and research supports the use of magnesium to reduce RLS symptoms.
Sleep Problems Associated with Low Magnesium
Without enough magnesium, your muscles and nerves can’t relax. You may feel stuck in a state of over-excitement and nervousness. It may feel like your brain is constantly firing, making it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep long enough to feel rested.
The most prevalent sleep disorders can all be related to magnesium deficiency, including:
- difficulty falling asleep
- abrupt awakening from sleep
- jerking and other disruptive
- talking in your sleep
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
A nutrition research project at the United States Department of Agriculture found that “a diet inadequate in magnesium caused changes in brain waves–electrical activity in the brain” when subjects were at rest.
These findings build on a growing body of evidence pointing to magnesium deficiency as a cause of sleep disturbances, including agitated sleep and frequent waking.
Are You Getting Enough Magnesium for Sleep?
We get magnesium from our diet—primarily by eating plenty of dark, leafy greens, nuts (especially almonds), seeds, legumes, avocados, and dairy products. Aim to consume natural foods rich in magnesium daily.
Most people do not get enough magnesium through diet because modern agriculture has depleted the soils of magnesium. Even whole foods contain less of this key mineral than we would have found 100+ years ago.
You may also be losing magnesium at a faster rate than you can replace it through diet. Our bodies tap magnesium to metabolize a number of common substances, and to cope with the demands of modern life. Magnesium “leeches” include:
- All types of caffeine
- Sugar and processed foods
- Animal protein, including dairy
- Calcium, including calcium in fortified foods
- Vitamin D
- Exercise and sweat
- A number of medications
Many conditions, including diabetes, also increase your body’s demand for magnesium.
If you, like ⅓ of Canadians, have trouble getting enough magnesium from the foods you eat, you may want to consider taking a daily magnesium supplement.
You can quickly and easily increase your daily magnesium intake with a high-quality supplement, like Natural Calm.
Magnesium supplementation is highly safe for almost everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.
How Much Magnesium to Take for Sleep?
It’s one thing to know that magnesium is great for sleep. It’s another to get enough.
To start, how much magnesium should you be taking for basic health or to deal with a sleep problem?
It’s actually not very complicated to find out. Health Canada gives what are largely considered conservative Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for magnesium in a guide by age and gender:
- Infants (0-6 months): 30 mg/day
- Infants (7-12 months): 75 mg/day
- Children (1-3 years): 80 mg/day
- Children (4-8 years): 130 mg/day
- Pre-teens (9-13 years): 240 mg/day
- Males (14 -70+): 410-420 mg/day
- Females (14 -70+): 310-360 mg/day
- Pregnancy: 350-400 mg/day
- Lactation: 310-3600 mg/day
You can reference the Canadian RDA tables here.
These numbers are based on height and weight averages, generalized across the population.
Dr. Carolyn Dean, a leading expert on magnesium, recommends that adults consume 3 – 4 mg of magnesium for every pound of their weight.
If you are …
- 100 pound (lbs), that’s 300 – 400 mg of magnesium
- 125 lbs, you need 375 – 500 mg
- 150 lbs, aim for 450 – 600 mg
- 175 lbs, look for 525 – 700 mg
- 200 lbs, you’ll need 600 – 800 mg
You can see how by Dr. Dean’s formula, many adults of normal weight will need much more than the RDA.
“Twenty years of research shows that under ideal conditions approximately 300 mg of magnesium is required merely to offset the daily losses. If you are under mild to moderate stress… your requirements for magnesium escalate.” (The Magnesium Miracle, p. 216)
If you are unsure of the right dose of magnesium for you – or if you have a health condition – consult your physician or a pharmacist.
You can also gauge your symptoms to find the right dose of magnesium. If you’re sleeping well, feeling relaxed, and if your bowel movements are regular (but not too regular!), you’re probably taking just the right amount!
Taking Magnesium with Melatonin
We’re often asked if you can take magnesium with melatonin, another popular sleep supplement. The answer is, for almost everyone, “Yes — and it works brilliantly.”
Magnesium and melatonin have a symbiotic relationship. Our bodies need both to get a good night’s sleep. That’s why we’ve combined the two in our specialty sleep product, Calm Sleep.
Some studies suggest that magnesium can play a role in more efficient melatonin regulation. The mineral improves melatonin’s psycholeptic sedative effects, especially in a darkened environment.
“I always recommend that people with sleep issues start by addressing what may be a magnesium deficiency,” says Linda Bolton, Natural Calm CEO.
For persistent sleep problems, Linda recommends adding Heavenly Sleep liquid melatonin to a cup of Natural Calm magnesium citrate or trying Calm Sleep.
Learn more about melatonin for insomnia here, and about our other top recommended sleep supplements in this research-heavy post.
Best Magnesium for Sleep
The best magnesium supplement for sleep is, first, one that is highly absorbable.
Magnesium tablets and low-quality magnesium supplements are often not very absorbable. That means your body may excrete too much of the magnesium, instead of absorbing the magnesium into the bloodstream where it can be used by cells across your body.
Natural Calm magnesium citrate features a proprietary formula that provides highly absorbable, water-soluble magnesium in an ionic form that gets to work right away.
Another consideration when searching for the “best magnesium for sleep” is whether you are likely to stick with it every day. Magnesium is depleted from the body daily and must be replaced daily.
Choose a magnesium supplement that you love to take.
Fans of Natural Calm say they keep taking it for decades because it’s a pleasure to sip the fruit-flavoured magnesium hot or add it to cold drinks. Natural Calm gummies are another delicious way to get more magnesium!
Calm Sleep: Magnesium Plus Melatonin & More
Perhaps the best magnesium for sleep is our combination formula, Calm Sleep.
Calm Sleep is a naturally relaxing nighttime drink for extra sleep support.
The formula starts with magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate to support healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system, relax muscles, and provide support for hundreds of processes throughout the body.
Because Calm Sleep was designed for those times when you need a little help getting enough rest, we also added a blend of sleep-promoting nutrients, including Suntheanine® (a patented premium form of the relaxing amino acid l-theanine), GABA (a non-protein amino acid), and melatonin, which helps the body ease into restful sleep.
Sweetened with organic stevia, Calm Sleep supports healthy magnesium levels and can be used for the occasional times we need sleep support.
Take it just before bed, and enjoy the wave of calm and relaxation.
“It’s a game-changer for insomnia,” says Natural Calm CEO, Linda Bolton. “The bottle dosing recommends up to 2 tsp before bed, but I take ½ teaspoon and I’m getting the best sleep of my life.”
Plus, the wildberry flavour is delicious! (As you’d expect from a Natural Calm magnesium drink.)
What People Are Saying About Natural Calm for Sleep
We’ll leave you with a selection of testimonials from customers who have written in to tell us how Natural Calm magnesium has helped with their sleep.
“Natural Calm has changed my life for the better.”
“I’m a twenty-five-year-old female, and I’ve been using Natural Calm (lemon flavour! yum!) for the past few weeks. It has changed my life entirely. It was prescribed to me via my chiropractor.
After years and years of traditional doctors prescribing hard drugs (anxiety medications and sleeping pills), I was still suffering heavily from nightmares. I never slept well. I was an insomniac. I was anxious constantly from lack of sleep. It had deeply affected my outlook on life and my ability to function in everyday activities.
Natural Calm has completely altered my inability to sleep. I fall asleep, dream well, and wake up rested. I’m no longer anxious.
I can’t even express how surprised I was, after years of being prescribed hard drugs by my trusted traditional doctors, that something so simple could be so life-changing. I can’t thank you enough. Natural Calm has changed my life for the better.”
“11 hours of sleep”
“I tried your product Natural Calm for the first time the other day before going to bed. Honest to God, I slept 11 hours through! Wow! I hadn’t been able to do that for 11-12 years. In short, I found this product actually worked like nothing I’ve tried before. Thanks.”
“Feeling good and sleeping well”
A letter to the owner of one of the stores carrying our products:
“Hi Jackie. I was in last week and you gave me the Natural Calm samples and made me pinky swear I would use them every day for a week.
I have to tell you that the first night I slept a full 5 hours straight! Unbelievable for me, that hasn’t happened in YEARS! My husband actually said I was snoring at one point!! I am feeling good. I don’t get up with my hip aching and my fibromyalgia pain has lessened and I have only been taking Natural Calm for 4 days.
Thank you SO much for giving me the samples and the encouragement. I will see you when I come in to buy a bottle of the powder. You are awesome, and I love that you care so much about your customers!!”
“Eased muscle spasms and good night’s sleep”
“For years my legs would twitch at night and on occasion cramp despite taking both calcium and magnesium for over 15 years. The twitching would be so violent that it would shake the bed and wake up my wife. On occasion I would be awakened and the muscle convulsions in my legs would be strong enough to shake my whole body.
A friend told me about Natural Calm. After a week the muscle twitches and convulsions stopped. I slept a lot better and woke up refreshed, like I actually had a good night’s sleep. I have also noticed my chiropractic adjustments holding well.”
John Z. Sacramento
“Less knee pain”
“I’ve only been using Natural Calm for 3 days now. In those 3 days I’ve had 3 really good night sleeps and I haven’t been experiencing pain in my knees while trying to sleep. So far, it’s been great!”
“Helped me regain energy”
“I am just getting back to work after a long forced 7 month holiday (burn out), and your product is still the best option I found to finally get a night of normal sleep. It has helped me to regain energy during my long recovery and make it through my day at work.”
“Can’t imagine life without it”
“This stuff is a lifesaver. I was rattled from lack of sleep, forgetting a lot and worried about my memory and sleep aids left me groggy all day he next day. I’ve experienced none with this product and can’t imagine life without it now.”
“Calmful Sleep works great for me”
“I love your natural calm – calmful sleep drink! It works so great for me. I’ve got my husband, mom and mother in-law all taking it and they say it helps them all sleep. I work night shifts at the hospital and have been telling my co-workers, who have trouble sleeping about it. I know once they try it they’ll love it too!”
“Really good sleep and no cramping”
“For 4 months I was suffering from insomnia, having troubles falling to sleep, then waking at 3 am .. and I get up at 5:30. So exhaustion, and frustration set in. And I was getting cramps in my foot and legs. Upon a suggestion from a coworker I tried your Natural Calm, and had a real good sleep right from the first night and cramping has went away too !!”
“I purchased this for my husband mostly because he isn’t a big vegetable eater, has pain in his shoulders etc. I started him out on 1 tsp at night then after about 5 days have him taking 2. HE STOPPED SNORING!!!!!!
I actually thought he was dead the other night because I couldn’t hear him. (We believe he has sleep apnea but he hasn’t been tested yet) He now wakes up feeling rested instead of still being tired. I wasn’t expecting that. It has only been about 1-1/2 weeks though so waiting for more results.”
“A miracle for my son’s sleep”
“Just wanted to let you know that we have seen a complete change with my son’s sleep. The leg cramps have vanished and he is (knocking on wood while typing) sleeping through the night. I know you get it; it really does feel like a miracle.”
“Better sleep and digestion”
“I have been using calm for the past 3 months and I’m amazed at the amazing benefits. I sleep better and my digestion has been fabulous. My naturopath recommended it and she was spot on. A must-try for everyone.”
“Helps with aches, pains, and sleep”
“Love the mag. Helps wonderfully with aches, pains and sleep.”
“I had severe ankle/shin splints and couldn’t sleep from the pain. I used it at night and it’s gone!!! I take this every day!!!”
“Helps me sleep”
“I have used natural calm over 10 years. Great product. Helps me sleep.”
“Helped me kick a sleep aid habit”
“This product changed my life. Kicked a 10 yr habit with Gravol as a sleep aid. Two containers later I was free and clean of sleep aids entirely.”
“Helps muscle soreness and body functioning”
“I use this every day, for several years, before bed. It helps calm me for sleep. Magnesium also helps muscle soreness and body functioning. I love it and can tell if I miss a night. It’s the best! Only this brand too.”
“Helps with sleep”
“Helps me sleep.”
“Relaxes my body for sleep”
“I love the calm! It relaxes my body as well as any tensions and aids me in getting an amazing and calmmmmm sleep :)”
“The miracle supplement for a good night’s sleep!”
“Helps with sleep, leg cramps, anxiety, etc.”
“I have been using Natural Calm for almost 10 years and got my whole family on it. It has helped with sleep, leg cramps, anxiety etc.”
“Beneficial for leg cramps and sleep”
“Natural Calm is very beneficial with leg cramps and to prevent waking up in the middle of the night.”
“Wonderful for sleep and relaxation”
“Wonderful product for sleeping & relaxing.”
“Keeps me energized!”
“Keeps me well rested, energized and happy!”
“Helps me relax and sleep well”
“I lead a super stressful life. Calm helps me Calm down, relax and sleep soundly.”
“Great sleep & very calming.”
“I CAN SLEEP!”
“Best thing for peace of mind at night”
“Natural Calm is the best thing our family had done for peace of mind and sanity at night. We have two young children and it really works well with them. Gives them a good night’s sleep and they just feel better. They like it so much that they ask for it with their vitamins at night. Thank you for showing me this product.”
Katherine C. Diamond Bar
“Relaxes me for a great sleep”
“My de-stress is taking Natural Calm before bedtime. It makes me so relaxed that I have a great sleep. I would be lost without it. I’ll never go without it in my life. I love it!”
“Your product saved my life”
“I just wanted to say your product has saved my life. I have been prescribed every sleeping pill in the book. Only to leave me irritable and feeling out of my head the next day and even more tired.
My mom’s naturopath recommended this product to her a couple years ago and she shared it with me. I have been taking this since. Seriously, I can’t express how much this has helped me in my life. I can finally feel like myself and put 100% into my career and life. Thank you for your product!”
“This product is beyond words for me!”
“Four years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. … I was experiencing very restless sleeping, being fatigued and in a great deal of muscle pain. After just two days of taking Natural Calm, I couldn’t believe I was in no pain. Sleeping very well and lots of energy. You can only imagine how ecstatic I was—feeling normal again.
This product is beyond words for me! I don’t miss a day without taking it twice.”
“I fall asleep more easily, and stay asleep”
“I am a 42 year old and have had migraines and insomnia for years. With recommendations of a friend decided to try Natural Calm six months ago. Since then I fall asleep more easily and stay asleep and wake up refreshed. I am not as uptight or stressed as well. My migraines are less frequent and less severe.
Finding this product has helped me in so many ways. I look forward to drinking my glass of natural calm each day because it has a great taste. Thanks so much for making an amazing product.”
“The taste and smell relax me”
“I have been using Natural Calm Magnesium Powder for approximately a year now. The main reasons I decided to try this product was to help with my elevated stress levels and sleep disturbances.
I have a 20 year-old son who is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and as you can imagine it can be very stressful at times. I take this product 1 hour before bed and, just the taste and smell of the lemon-raspberry relaxes me. I do feel that my sleep issues have improved. Yes, I would recommend this product. Thanks!!”
“My general health has dramatically improved”
“My husband and I have been using the Natural Calm Magnesium, Magnesium spray and Heavenly sleep. Love it all. I have been telling my family, friends, co workers, everyone how much these products have improved my life.
For three years I battled with chronic pain, extreme fatigue, and depression and much more.
My general health has dramatically improved. I no longer go to bed at six, I have more energy, my pain has decreased, my bowels work better, don’t feel depressed (actually was able to stop taking anti depressants).”
“Helps me unwind before bed”
“Love love love this stuff… helps me unwind before bed. I highly recommend this product to friends and family”
“Helps my construction team sleep like babies away from home”
“Natural Calm has rocked my world…right to sleep! I have posted before how this product has been a lifesaver but I’m posting again because I shared a bottle with one of the linemen on my construction team…
He in turn passed it along to another worker and now I have two burly linemen who can’t wait for their Natural Calm at night to help them sleep like babies through the night in their not so comfortable hotel rooms while working away from home. Well done Natural Calm!”
“Best sleep aid ever”
“This product is the best thing I have used for a sleep aid, ever. “
“Helps us with sleep and the aches and pains of aging”
“Natural Calm has helped my husband and I for years with sleep and with all of our aging aches and pains. Beats taking pills!”
“My go-to sleep aid”
“Calmful Sleep is my go-to for sleep aid. My whole family takes it right before bed. “
“A staple in my family’s nighttime routine”
“Calmful Sleep has been a staple with my family night time routine for years. Such a great product! “
“Love Calmful Sleep!”
“Sleep is the most important thing when it comes to being prepared for my busy day and I love calmful sleep!”
“Fast acting and delicious”
“Calmful Sleep is my go to for night time remedy. Fast acting, delicious and we love it!”
“The only product that gives me a good night’s sleep”
“I take this wonderful product every night and it is the only product I have ever tried that makes me have a good nights sleep. I can’t say enough about this product”
“I use Calm to relax my body to be able to sleep, it does wonders for my life; great product.” Joan LeMay
“I use it every night.”
“This is the product I use every night. It helps with my restless legs and puts me to sleep fast!”
- 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]
- 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]
- Contributions from writer Abi Ja who writes and researches on the topic of health and medicine and submitted content for this post on behalf of Dispense Doc, an online service that promotes point of care dispensing in the US.
- Contributions from Charles Vallena, managing editor at Sleep Matters.
- Dr. Carolyn Dean, The Magnesium Miracle, Revised and Updated (2007)
Can melatonin and GABA be taken together?
Yes, they can!
Does GABA inhibit melatonin?
No, they do not inhibit each other.
Are GABA and melatonin the same?
Hormones like melatonin, serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters, whereas GABA is a neurotransmitter amino acid. The ‘hormone’ terminology is often used interchangeably with the neurotransmitter term. Hormones are made in one place, travel through the bloodstream and attach to receptors on cells.
Neurotransmitters are made by one neuron, travel across a gap (synapse) between neurons, and attach to receptors on the next neuron in line.
All neurotransmitters are amino acids, but not all amino acids are neurotransmitters.
How much GABA should I take for insomnia?
Start with a low dose and assess your body’s reaction. GABA is known for being an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it’s relaxing when in the right amount. If you take too little, there will be no effect on your anxiety levels or sleep. If you take too much GABA before bedtime, you may find yourself having trouble falling asleep because of its relaxing effects.
Which form of magnesium is best for sleep?
Calm is recommended as a sleep-enhancing magnesium supplement because it provides the best form of magnesium for enhancing sleep. Magnesium is typically found in three different forms: oxide, citrate and glycinate.
Magnesium Citrate is best for absorption and is very well tolerated by most people.
Is it OK to take magnesium every night?
The short answer is yes.
It’s best to dose at the same time every night because it may interfere with sleep if taken too inconsistently, but it is safe and effective to take every night. As with all products, please follow the recommended serving size on the label. If you are currently taking another magnesium supplement, we recommend that you start with 1 serving of Heavenly Sleep at bedtime.
What time should I take magnesium for sleep?
Take at bedtime. Heavenly Sleep is designed as a sleep-enhancing magnesium supplement, and it’s best to dose at the same time every night.