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Does Magnesium Help You Sleep?

by Jimmy Leonard | Updated 30 May 2024

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Magnesium is having a moment right now. You can buy pills, gummies, lotions, sprays, and all other forms of supplements to allegedly help your muscles relax and help your body fall asleep.

But does it actually work?

As is often the case with sleep-aiding supplements, the scientific support is a mixed bag, and the internet is overflowing with personal anecdotes on both extremes of the experience spectrum. To make sense of the confusion, here’s what you should know.

Magnesium's Impact on Sleep

How Magnesium Impacts the Body

Magnesium is a highly reactive, low-density alkaline earth metal and one of the most abundant elements on the planet.

Okay, that “highly reactive” part makes it sound like it’s going to turn you into a supervillain, but all it really means is that magnesium is in all sorts of naturally occurring chemical compounds. It’s a common mineral in your body and important in enzyme synthesis, energy production, and other key bodily functions.

It’s commonly found in a variety of foods you eat every day ranging from whole grains to vegetables. Probably the best one-sentence summary is that magnesium is a key nutrient that helps your body stay healthy. 

So if it’s so common, what’s all the excitement around sleep?

Magnesium's Relationship to Sleep

There is some observed correlation between high magnesium levels in the body and quality sleep. Then again, we just said magnesium is in whole grains and vegetables, so perhaps it’s as simple as healthy eating being correlated to better sleep.

Magnesium may help your brain calm down and your muscles relax, which in turn promotes a shorter time to fall asleep and a deeper sleep once you’re there. But most sleep doctors are in agreement that magnesium supplements are in no way a substitute for good sleep hygiene. It may help you rest and fall asleep, but it won’t override poor choices with alcohol, caffeine, blue light, and all the other things that keep us up at night. Similarly, magnesium is not a cure for conditions such as sleep apnea that may significantly impact your ability to sleep deeply.

Should You Try Magnesium?

Some people swear by it. Others say they’ve tried and it didn’t do much. In my view, it’s not so different from chamomile tea or other methods of calming your body before bed. No matter how you choose to relax, whether it’s through stretching and meditation or some magnesium lotion on your abdomen, the important thing is preparing your body for a good night’s sleep.

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Jimmy Leonard

Jimmy Leonard

Jimmy is a marketing content strategist and copywriter who moonlights as the editor of Sueño Labs. He's also the host of the Sueño Labs podcast. He writes about medicine, technology, and ways to sleep better.

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