Can Magnesium Help You Sleep Better?

So many people experience issues with sleeping. If you’re one of those people who fall asleep in 5 seconds, this article is not for you, but please forward it to your partner. When you’re falling asleep, you need both your body and your mind to be relaxed. Being stressed or emotional doesn’t support good sleep. Having a routine you complete before bed that helps you decompress and boosts melatonin (dim lighting, no screens) can take some of that tension away. Other components that play into sleep include the balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems (we talked a little bit about our HPA axis in this blog), levels of neurotransmitters and environment. 

The parasympathetic nervous system is in charge of our rest and digestion phases. It’s main purpose is to conserve energy and regulate bodily functions that we aren’t able to do in fight or flight mode - like go to the bathroom and sleep. In this phase, neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA and melatonin will be at higher levels. Cortisol and melatonin, as we know, regulate our sleep wake cycle in response to each other. If you are too stressed, or chronically controlled by your sympathetic nervous system, cortisol does not lower enough to promote a proper melatonin release. This can lead to poor sleep cues. GABA is one of our calming neurotransmitters, it helps us feel relaxed, focused and ready to sleep. Hint: magnesium helps to promote higher GABA levels.

Individuals who are more at risk for lower magnesium levels include [2]:

  • People with digestive disease - due to poor absorption of vitamins and minerals.
  • People with diabetes - this condition, as well as insulin resistance, are highly linked with excess magnesium loss.
  • People with alcohol dependence - common side effect of high alcohol consumption.
  • Older adults - due to poor nutrition, access, and less efficient absorption. 

Sleep Quality Over Sleep Quantity

You know when you have a long sleep but you still wake feeling tired and a bit slow? That’s a sign of poor sleep quality. Light and restless sleep can also indicate poor magnesium levels, and further decrease magnesium levels [3]. Magnesium supports a deep and restful sleep. Magnesium blocks some of our exciting neurotransmitters from bonding to receptors, meaning we stay more calm. While adults need approximately 6-9 hours of sleep, if you are someone who is a light sleeper and constantly wakes, or even slight insomnia, you are cutting into your sleep time. If it takes you longer than 15 minutes to fall asleep most nights, consider that sleep onset insomnia. A study by Abbasi, et al [1] demonstrated magnesium improving sleep either through: longer sleep duration, improved sleep efficiency (quality), decreased blood cortisol, and decreased the time it took to fall asleep. 

If any of this hits home, consider testing out a magnesium product to both encourage better sleep quality, and better stress resilience. As for the bedroom, keep it super dark, and consider reading instead of scrolling instagram before bed?


[1] PMID: 23853635



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