Which Magnesium Is Best for Sleep?

Written by Krista Bugden
Medically Reviewed by Felicia Newell, M.S., RDN

November 1, 2023

You may have heard about the potential benefits of supplementing with magnesium for sleep. Research suggests that certain types of magnesium, including magnesium glycinate, may improve sleep quality and duration.

When it comes to sleep, health coaches, experts, and gurus alike often recommend supplementing with magnesium. But with so many different types of magnesium lining the shelves—each with its own unique properties and benefits—picking the perfect one for a peaceful night can feel perplexing.

So, which magnesium is best for sleep? Below, we explore everything you need to know to harness the power of magnesium for a better night’s rest.

Can a Lack of Magnesium Cause Sleep Problems?

Magnesium is an essential mineral, meaning the body doesn’t produce it. This means we have to get enough of it from our diet or through supplementation. But surprisingly, around half of the general population doesn’t get the recommended amount of this essential nutrient (1).

Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. So, how can a deficiency lead to potential sleep issues?

Well, according to research, magnesium blocks a specific receptor that, when activated, may lead to poor sleep quality (2). Magnesium also plays a role in reducing stress throughout the body, which can lead to better sleep. 

Additionally, without sufficient magnesium, inflammatory stress within the body may increase, leading to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other problems—including difficulty sleeping.

Why Does Magnesium Help You Sleep Better?

Magnesium promotes better sleep in more ways than one. Here’s the gist:

  • Magnesium helps regulate GABA. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes calmness and relaxation. Research shows that magnesium plays a significant role in regulating GABA, which may lead to a good night’s rest (3).
  • Magnesium may enhance melatonin. Studies show reduced melatonin goes hand-in-hand with a magnesium deficiency (4). Melatonin is an essential hormone for regulating the circadian rhythm and causing feelings of sleepiness.
  • Magnesium decreases cortisol. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, causes us to feel alert and awake—not exactly a perfect recipe for a good night’s sleep. Magnesium, however, reduces cortisol, which may improve sleep quality (5).
  • Magnesium physically relaxes the body. Magnesium is commonly recommended to alleviate muscle cramps, which can promote physical relaxation and comfort when trying to sleep (6). Magnesium supplementation is even suggested when treating restless leg syndrome, another ailment that can make falling (and staying) asleep more difficult (7).
  • Magnesium may help you sleep longer. In one study, there was a statistically significant difference in the sleep time and sleep efficiency of those taking magnesium and those taking a placebo (8). This indicates that magnesium supplementation positively improved both the amount and quality of sleep that participants experienced.
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Most research tends to agree: Incorporating a magnesium supplement into your daily routine improves sleep. Yet, this brings us right back to our original question: Which magnesium is best for sleep?

What Is the Best Magnesium for Sleep?

While there are various types of magnesium (citrate, oxide, chloride, and so on), not all forms are created equal. For promoting better sleep, magnesium glycinate takes center stage. 

Emily Maus, women's health dietitian and founder of Live Well Dietitian, states, “As a hormone dietitian, I recommend magnesium glycinate to 100% of my clients that have difficulty with sleep. Magnesium glycinate is shown to support the body in relaxation to get and stay asleep.”

Magnesium glycinate is a combination of magnesium and the amino acid glycine. This pairing enhances the bioavailability of magnesium, ensuring that the body can absorb and utilize it effectively.

The presence of glycine, in particular, is extra special. Glycine has been independently researched for its calming effects on the brain and its ability to promote better sleep quality (7). When combined with magnesium, the duo forms a potent supplement that naturally calms the body, enhancing relaxation and overall sleep.

When taking magnesium glycinate for sleep, dosage is important. Most sources tend to agree that taking about 200 milligrams of magnesium glycinate should suffice. 

When considering supplementation, double-check the label to determine the appropriate dosage of magnesium for sleep. Be sure to follow the product and your doctor’s instructions accordingly.

On top of this, magnesium glycinate can further complement other sleep-inducing ingredients. That’s why we created a sleepytime supplement that combines magnesium with collagen, melatonin, GABA, and L-theanine. This arms you with the perfect sleep stack to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. All you need is one scoop 30 minutes before bedtime.

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If you take other medications, talk to your doctor about potential interactions before adding magnesium to your routine. Certain Parkinson’s medications and antibiotics may have reduced effectiveness or other side effects when consumed alongside a magnesium supplement (9).

When to Take Magnesium for Sleep

For many individuals, taking magnesium in the evening, typically 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime, is the most effective. This window allows the body to absorb the mineral and subsequently benefit from its calming properties just as you're preparing for rest. 

However, it's important to note that individual responses can vary. While evening is often ideal for sleep-related benefits, some people may find that taking magnesium earlier in the day or splitting the dose between morning and night works better for them. This is especially true for those seeking magnesium’s other benefits (cue: enhanced energy metabolism, migraine prevention, stress management, and more).

Krista Bugden
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Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden is a freelance writer with a BS in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. She spent 5 years working as a kinesiologist, giving her the first-hand experience she needed to write well-researched, scientific, and informative blogs.

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    Medical Disclaimer

    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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