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When it comes to sleepless nights, people seek out all kinds of solutions, from behavioral lifestyle changes to sleeping pills. Since sleeping pills can be addictive, many opt for natural supplements instead.
One natural supplement that’s making a name for itself is magnesium. This common mineral not only helps you fall asleep in the first place, but it helps you enjoy deeper, more restful sleep as well.
Magnesium supplements cost around $12 to $24 for a bottle with a 60-day supply. Below, we review the best magnesium supplements for sleep. Then we share our buyer’s guide for finding the best magnesium supplement for you, and answer the top FAQ people have about taking magnesium for sleep.
Natural Rhythm’s Triple Calm Magnesium contains 75mg of chelated magnesium per capsule. The “Triple” in the name comes from the three types of magnesium it contains—taurate, glycinate, and malate—all blended together to calm your muscles, mind, and nervous system. The capsules offer high bioavailability and gentle absorption, so you can easily work your dose into your daily life. They’re also vegetarian friendly, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
We’ve selected the Triple Calm Magnesium as our Editor’s Choice for a few reasons. The magnesium blend is formulated for relaxation. It comes in a vegetarian-friendly, easy-to-digest package. Finally, the mid-range dose accommodates multiple people, from those who need just 1 per day to those who might need to take more than 2.
Natural Rhythm recommends a twice daily dose, with a meal and water. You can take 1 capsule in the morning and 1 at night, or both at the same time.
Looking to swap out your bedtime tea for a drinkable magnesium supplement? Natural Vitality’s 16-ounce drink mix provides 113 servings (2 teaspoons each) of citric acid and magnesium carbonate blend. Add in the organic stevia and flavoring, and you transform your everyday glass of water into a sweet-tasting “Anti-Stress Drink.” Those concerned about added sugars should note that this magnesium supplement does derive its flavor from organic stevia. However, all the ingredients are 100% vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
The Natural Vitality Magnesium Powder comes in two sizes (8-ounce and 16-ounce), and three flavors (Cherry, Lemon, and Raspberry Lemon). Each serving size contains 325mg of magnesium, which should take you just up to the daily recommended limit. If your diet is already magnesium-rich, you can easily adjust your dose by measuring out only 1-teaspoon, or half-teaspoon servings.
To take your serving, Natural Vitality recommends starting with a half-teaspoon daily, and gradually increasing to 2 full teaspoons as needed. You simply measure out the powder, and pour it into a glass. Then, mix in hot or cold water, let it fizz a bit, stir until dissolved, and drink.
The Nested Naturals low-strength magnesium capsules promise high absorption and no laxative effect. Their glycinate chelate formula relieves muscle cramps and promotes relaxation, so you can sleep better at night. These capsules contain 100mg of magnesium each, in a vegan capsule of rice flour and vegetable cellulose. The low dose makes it easy to supplement your diet to improve your sleep and magnesium intake.
The Nested Naturals magnesium capsules are non-GMO and allergen-free (gluten, soy, diary, or otherwise). All of their products are third-party tested and backed by a lifetime guarantee. Nested Naturals recommends taking 2 capsules once or twice daily, with food.
For those searching for a high-dose magnesium supplement, Bio Schwartz delivers. Each capsule packs in 200mg of magnesium bisglycinate chelate in a high absorption formula, without the laxative effect. The blend was formulated specifically to support more restful sleep, smoother digestion, and improved muscle, bone, and nerve health. The mini-capsules are indeed mini-sized, so they’re easy to swallow and easy on the stomach. Bio Schwartz’s magnesium supplements are USA-made, non-GMO, and third-party tested for safety. Each vegan capsule is also gluten-free and allergen free.
As a high-dose capsule, this supplement may be best for those with a magnesium deficiency. Bio Schwartz recommends taking 1 mini capsule in the morning and one at night, with food and water.
If you’re looking for a lower-cost capsule, without sacrificing quality, you won’t find a better option than Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium supplements. These vegan tablets contain 100mg of chelated magnesium glycinate each. The Doctor’s Best formula contains a proprietary blend of magnesium glycine and lysine, optimizing bioavailability while minimizing any potential strain on your intestinal tract. Because they’re so easy on your stomach, you can take these magnesium supplements with or without food. The tablets are non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free.
Doctor’s Best recommends taking 2 tablets twice daily, although that may take you just over the recommended supplemental intake level, especially if you’re already getting enough magnesium through your diet.
Magnesium supplements come in different strengths and formulas. It’s important to understand how magnesium affects sleep, and how much magnesium you need, in order to find the best supplement for you. Review our buyer’s guide, below, to learn more about taking magnesium for sleep.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that keeps you healthy. It’s involved in all sorts of bodily functioning, affecting the health of our bones, muscles, heart, and brain. In our bodies, magnesium primarily exists in our serum and red blood cells. It’s one of the most common minerals on Earth, and you’ll see it as an ingredient in many foods.
Supplemental magnesium often comes in tablet or capsule form, although you might also find it in powdered drink mixes or lotions.
In order to sleep, your brain needs to feel tired and relaxed, so it naturally starts winding things down toward the end of the day, preparing for sleep. Magnesium helps push this process along through its interactions with your melatonin levels and nervous system.
Magnesium regulates both neurotransmitters and melatonin. Neurotransmitters relay messages between your brain and your nervous system, and your melatonin levels control your sleep-wake cycles. Researchers have found that melatonin and magnesium levels correlate in the body. Those with depleted levels experience poorer sleep, and vice versa. Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that, like melatonin, magnesium is tied to your circadian rhythms.
You’ve probably heard of taking melatonin for sleep before. This explains why magnesium can be another alternative.
Beyond its connection with melatonin and the sleep-wake cycle, magnesium also helps calm your nervous system by binding to GABA receptors. These neurotransmitters reduce nerve activity, calming your nervous system in preparation for sleep. Increasing your GABA levels promotes relaxation (in fact, this is why sleeping pills like Zolpidem (Ambien) use them).
Some people are prone to magnesium deficiency, including those with diabetes, alcohol addiction, GI diseases, ADHD, and older adults. These individuals especially can benefit from supplemental magnesium.
Without sufficient magnesium levels, your body is likely to experience disturbed sleep and insomnia. A study of mice who were kept on a magnesium-deficient diet experienced disturbed sleep with more frequent awakenings.
However, it is possible to have too much magnesium, as well. Whether you have too much or too little magnesium, you can expect sleep problems, according to a 2001 study. For good sleep, it’s important to find the right balance of magnesium.
Beyond helping you fall asleep initially, optimal magnesium levels also improve the quality of your sleep, according to two separate studies of older adults in 2011 and 2012. In both studies, the adults who took magnesium experienced better quality sleep than those who took a placebo.
The National Institute of Health recommends a daily dietary intake of 400-420 mg of magnesium for adult men and 310-360 mg for adult women. However, you can get much of that through water and foods that contain high amounts of magnesium (and promote good sleep to boot!), including:
Additional good sources for magnesium include foods that are high in fiber, dairy products, and water with high mineral content. Legumes, meat, fruit, and fish also contain magnesium, although in lesser amounts than the foods listed above.
A daily dose of magnesium can help regulate your nervous system, minimizing the stress, irritability, and sleep problems associated with magnesium deficiency.
However, because you get so much magnesium from food, and there aren’t yet a wealth of studies on the effectiveness of magnesium for insomnia, there are no exact dosage guidelines for using it to treat insomnia. The Food and Nutrition Board suggests that supplemental magnesium levels not exceed 350 mg for males and females 9 years and older, 110 mg for children between 4 to 8, and 65 mg for 1 to 3 year olds.
|Birth – 12 months||None established||None established||N/A||N/A|
|1-3 years||65 mg||65 mg||N/A||N/A|
|4-8 years||110 mg||110 mg||N/A||N/A|
|9-18 years||350 mg||350 mg||350 mg||350 mg|
|19+ years||350 mg||350 mg||350 mg||350 mg|
To use magnesium as a sleep aid, you should take it about 1 to 2 hours before you’d like to fall asleep. Although, many supplements will suggest splitting your dose between the morning and evening.
There are actually several different types of magnesium. Any magnesium supplement you take can support better bone, muscle, brain, and heart health. However, different types of magnesium may provide additional benefits for particular ailments:
All of the above described chelated magnesium. Whenever you take a magnesium supplement, it contains elemental magnesium as well as a carrier atom, such as an amino acid. When this carrier is bound to the magnesium by two or more points, it’s referred to as “chelated” magnesium. Non-chelated magnesium is only bound by one point.
Chelated magnesium may increase the bioavailability of magnesium (in other words, it allows more magnesium to be absorbed by your system), but the evidence is not yet conclusive.
Daily doses of 350mg or less of magnesium are generally safe for most adults. Even in safe, or prescribed, amounts, magnesium may cause side effects like cramping, nausea, and diarrhea.
Although, some people may want to avoid magnesium supplements altogether, or at least speak with their doctor before taking them. These include individuals with bleeding disorders, heart block, kidney problems, and restless legs syndrome. Magnesium supplements can interfere with medications like muscle relaxants, diuretics, antibiotics, and blood pressure medications.
1. Consult your doctor first. Your doctor is best positioned to advise you on an optimal dose of magnesium, based on your health history. They can also advise you as to whether there are lifestyle changes you can make to naturally increase your magnesium intake. Individuals at risk of a magnesium deficiency can particularly benefit from speaking to their doctor first.
2. Don’t mix your magnesium with other medications. Magnesium supplements can produce adverse side effects, and interfere with the efficacy of other medications. If you are taking any medications for another condition, it’s critical to speak with your doctor first.
3. Pay attention to your magnesium intake. For healthy adults, the National Institutes of Health recommend no higher than 350mg of supplemental magnesium per day. Carefully review the amount of magnesium per serving (or per capsule) with your supplement, to ensure you don’t exceed this limit.
4. Start with the lowest dose. Taking more magnesium than you need may cause cramping or diarrhea, so it’s advisable to start with the lowest dose, and gradually increase from there as needed.
5. Practice good sleep hygiene. If you are taking magnesium to sleep better, there may be lifestyle changes you can make to eliminate your need for a supplement in the first place. Make sure to follow a regular sleep schedule (going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even weekends); stop all electronic use 1 hour before bedtime; avoid exercise or heavy meals late at night; and follow a calming bedtime routine.
As with any supplement, you may experience side effects from taking magnesium, such as nausea, cramping, or diarrhea.
Prevent this discomfort by never taking magnesium on an empty stomach and always taking it with a full glass of water. You may also wish to check with your doctor first to ensure magnesium supplements will not interfere with any other medication you are taking for other health conditions.