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Wellness Club

Should You Be Taking Magnesium for Sleep?

Sporty & Rich Wellness - Should You Be Taking Magnesium for Sleep?

 By: Megan Tomlin 

Are you looking for a good night’s sleep? Many people have begun to look into the beneficial effects of magnesium supplementation on sleep patterns. Magnesium is a mineral that helps our body’s muscles and nerves. This mineral helps to regulate our bone and muscle function, DNA, and blood pressure. It can be unclear when looking at popular media to understand if it is worth taking a magnesium supplement for sleep. Before considering supplementation, it is essential to understand that we also get magnesium from dietary sources. Foods such as nuts, seeds, yogurt, spinach, and milk are high in magnesium.

The most current research shows that there may be evidence of magnesium improving insomnia levels, sleep time, and length of sleep. As we age, it can become more challenging to feel like we get a restful night’s sleep. Our circadian rhythms can become disrupted and we may have a decrease in our nutrient intake as well. For older adults especially, trying out a verified magnesium supplement may be beneficial. 

I recommend finding a supplement that includes magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate as these two forms of magnesium are the ones we want to look for to help with sleep patterns. Glycine is an amino acid that can improve our sleep quality and brain power. When taken at the proper dosage, magnesium glycinate may increase overall mood and sleep duration. Magnesium citrate can also aid digestion and make it easier to get things moving in the morning.

Magnesium citrate is more bioavailable than many other forms, which means that it can enter the bloodstream of the body more effectively when it is ingested. Both of these magnesium forms have evidence that they can improve our sleep quality and length and reduce the number of times we wake up restless. We generally want to avoid magnesium oxide for sleep since this form is used more as a laxative. 

It is important to note that before adding any supplement to your routine, I recommend speaking with your naturopath or physician to discuss the safest options for you. Also, although some evidence supports the idea that magnesium may help with sleep and potentially digestion, much further research is needed to understand the full effects. 

While magnesium may benefit some people, we can attempt to improve our sleep quality in many other ways. Limiting our screen time before bed, creating a nighttime routine, or turning on a red light may signal to your body that it is time to wind down. Even our harsh room lights can suppress melatonin levels and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Dimming the lights or adopting a red-light wind-down routine may signal to your mind that it is time to get calm. 

One of the most important things to consider before taking a supplement is whether or not you already have a balanced nighttime routine. Research suggests that our body experiences our lowest cortisol levels at around midnight and then increases throughout the night until we wake up. Individuals with insomnia or sleep issues may not reach this low cortisol level which can make them wake up feeling restless. Putting away all screens around 9 pm and trying to get to sleep around 10 pm can help us achieve this low cortisol at night. 

Speaking with a functional medicine provider can help uncover the potential reasons you are not getting the rest you need.