Magnesium And Sleep: Function, Deficiency, Foods, Supplements, And Benefits

magnesium and sleep

In this article, we’ll discuss the relationship between Magnesium and sleep.


Traditionally, sleep problems have been fought off by the use of melatonin. However, after the link between magnesium deficiency and sleeplessness was found, people have shifted to first trying magnesium to cure them of insomnia.

What Is Magnesium?

The human body requires certain vitamins and minerals to function properly. Out of these, there are seven macro-minerals that your body requires in larger amounts. Deficiency of any of these can lead to numerous disorders.

Magnesium is one such macro-mineral which is responsible for various cellular and biochemical reactions that are essential to the human body, especially the brain. However, the body does not produce magnesium and hence it must be taken from external sources through your diet or supplements.

Functions Of Magnesium

Magnesium keeps your body healthy by performing several required functions and maintaining your brain health too. It keeps your bones healthy and helps you develop stronger immunity.

Your body requires some amount of magnesium for the production of energy. It also helps keep your heart rate steady, hence preventing high blood pressure and other heart disorders.

Magnesium can also help prevent the development of diabetes in your body. It also controls and manages the levels of calcium and Vitamin D in the body. Additionally, it stabilizes mood and prevents stress from getting to you.

Magnesium Deficiency

1. Symptoms

Various symptoms of magnesium deficiency include anxiety, fatigue and exhaustion, depression, restless leg syndrome, muscle cramps, and high blood pressure.

2. Effects of magnesium deficiency

If your diet does not meet your dietary needs of magnesium, then you could suffer from hypertension, poor bone health, osteoporosis, cardiovascular ailments, stroke, diabetes as well as poor sleep.

3. Who is at a higher risk of developing magnesium deficiency?

As you grow older, your body tends to absorb lesser vitamins and minerals, thus making the elderly more prone to magnesium deficiencies. If you are suffering from diabetes, digestive problems, or consume high levels of alcohol regularly, you are also at a higher risk of suffering from magnesium deficiencies. Magnesium doesn’t get properly absorbed in the body if you have a health condition that restricts its absorption.

Magnesium And Sleep

Magnesium deficiencies can cause insomnia, which is habitual sleeplessness. Hence, increasing your intake of magnesium can help fix the loss of sleep or disturbed sleep cycles. You can try to increase the magnesium in your diet by eating certain foods. However, if food fails to meet your needed levels of magnesium, you can go for magnesium supplements.

Magnesium Rich Food

To meet your body’s needs of magnesium, you should consider adding certain foods to your daily diet; spinach, broccoli, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, almonds, dark chocolate, bananas, cashew nuts, peas, lentils, soy products, flax seeds, chia seeds, kale are some of the best sources of magnesium that you can get from food.

If you prefer an animal-based source of magnesium, you can eat fatty fish like mackerel, pollock, and salmon, or go for chicken breast. For most people, it is generally easy to meet their magnesium needs through food.

Magnesium Supplements

You can also use magnesium supplements to meet your dietary needs if you are unable to do with food. However, it is advised to consult a doctor before consuming any supplements.

  • Magnesium Glycinate: This supplement reduces your stress levels. Glycine is an amino acid that helps induce sleep. Taking this supplement will relax your body, relieve your muscle of tension, calm you, and help you sleep. It is recommended to people who have loss of sleep as a result of their magnesium deficiency.
  • Magnesium Chloride: This supplement eases the overall effects of a short-term magnesium deficiency like loss of sleep, stress, anxiety, bone health, and poor digestion.
  • Magnesium Citrate: It helps people who suffer from digestion problems due to magnesium deficiency. It improves conditions like indigestion and constipation but is highly dehydrating. Hence, if you take this magnesium supplement, make sure to replenish your body with a lot of fluids.
  • Magnesium Oxide: Similar to Magnesium Citrate, this form of magnesium supplement aids indigestion, acidity, and heartburn. However, to do so, it functions similarly to a laxative. Supplements with magnesium oxide can also relieve migraines.
  • Magnesium Oil: You can use this topical remedy for healthy skin and mental relaxation.

Which Magnesium Supplement should I consume for Sleep?

Although you can any of the several magnesium supplements that aid sleep, magnesium glycinate is the most recommended form of magnesium for sleep problems. You will not only receive the magnesium your body needs but you will also get glycine, which provides additional aid in improving your sleep.

How Does Magnesium Improve Sleep?

  • Sleep Quality: If you suffer from insomnia because of magnesium deficiency, you will notice that even when you do fall asleep, the quality of your sleep would be bad. You might wake up frequently and wouldn’t feel well-rested after waking up. Magnesium puts you into a deep sleep, thus the probability of desirable sleep quality is high.
  • Depression: If you suffer from depression, you might be suffering from the loss of sleep. Magnesium can improve symptoms of depression in some people. This might help you in getting better sleep.
  • Stress: Magnesium helps alleviate stress and anxiety. It relaxes and calms your body to prepare you for a good sleep.
  • Restlessness: Many people become extremely restless when they go to bed. If you keep twisting and turning in bed and aren’t able to fall asleep magnesium might be of help as it prevents your body from becoming fidgety.
  • Digestive problems: Indigestion and acidity can cause heartburn and keep you awake all night. You might become nauseous which will prevent you from going to sleep. Magnesium solves various digestive problems as well. Relieving you of these conditions might help you fall asleep without much difficulty.
  • Muscle pain: Magnesium can help your muscles lose tension and improve cramps.

Adverse Effects of Too Much Magnesium

If you end up consuming a lot more magnesium than your body needs, you might develop a severe case of stomach cramping. It might not cause extremely toxic symptoms but magnesium ends up having a laxative effect if it is not taken in moderation. Too much magnesium can thus give you diarrhea. Hence, it is necessary to consult with your doctor before consuming any supplements.


Sleep problems affect many people. If you feel you might be suffering from a loss of sleep because of being magnesium deficient, you can try to include more magnesium-rich foods in your diet. If it fails to work, it is recommended you consult your healthcare provider who can determine the best path for you, which in most cases would be magnesium supplements.


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