If you’ve had one too many restless nights, you may have considered a Magnesium supplement for sleep. But as you’re probably aware, after a cursory Google search, there are many types of Magnesium with many benefits. One of the most popular forms is Magnesium Citrate. So does Magnesium Citrate help you sleep? The answer is yes; magnesium citrate is a beneficial supplement you can take to support sleep. We’ll cover everything you need to know about supplementing this essential mineral for sleep below.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral found in the earth and sea. You can get it from Magnesium-rich foods like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, spinach, bananas, black beans, brown rice, avocados, squash, broccoli, potatoes, and legumes.
It’s technically possible to consume all the Magnesium you need through food alone, but very unlikely given our standard American diet (SDA) and farming practices.
Soil depletion of modern food crops has contributed to deficiencies in Magnesium levels along with the consumption of processed food and demineralized water, making it difficult to get the recommended intake.
As a result, over 50% of the population is has low Magnesium levels!
This vital mineral is responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and is critical to cellular integrity and structural development of bones, energy metabolism, and other processes.
Therefore, it is super important to keep an eye out for the 11 warning signs of a Magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium Citrate, in particular, is a popular form of magnesium bound with citric acid. It’s one of the most commonly used types of supplemental Magnesium, and is often taken to support increased Magnesium levels in your body. Magnesium supports healthy bowel movements as well, which can help keep you regular in the morning.
The Link Between Magnesium and Sleep
Many people take Magnesium for sleeping, but how does it work? Research has shown some of the ways that it can help support better sleep.
Many of us experience sleep disruption or insomnia because we cannot turn off our waking and working brains to transition to sleep at night. When you get poor sleep, it can be hard to go about your day like normal. A randomized, controlled study in 2016 found that dietary Magnesium supplementation can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, or the system that turns on your ability to rest and relax.
This system, also known as the “rest and digest” system, helps your body prepare for restful sleep by slowing down your heart rate and other processes.
Taking Magnesium for relaxation can help support the unwinding process by helping regulate a neurotransmitter known as Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA for short). This amino acid helps slow down your brain for the night ahead, calming communications between your mind and your nervous system to help you relax and eventually fall asleep.
Magnesium Citrate is often used to promote both mind and muscle relaxation. While more studies need to be done to confirm whether taking Magnesium directly targets relaxation, because it supports your overall levels and is bioavailable, this form of mag can be considered sleep supportive.
Supporting your relaxation mechanisms can help naturally reset your circadian rhythm, or your body’s internal clock that signals you to start feeling tired when it’s dark in the evening and more awake when the sun comes up. When your circadian rhythms are correctly aligned with your sleep cycle, you can achieve more restorative sleep.
Part of this has to do with Melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycles. While we’re sleeping, our bodies produce Melatonin and adjust processes like metabolism.
Magnesium regulates our production of Melatonin, and a study from 2019 suggests that this relationship between the mineral Magnesium and the hormone Melatonin is vital to our cellular sleep-wake cycles. This is why we often get better sleep when taking a dietary Magnesium supplement.
Stress can do a lot of damage to your sleep cycle, but Magnesium can help you calm down your body and support stress reduction. In helping activate the parasympathetic nervous system, this mineral plays a role in a number of neurotransmitter processes. Magnesium can inhibit a number of excitatory chemicals in the body to help reduce the effects of stress and promote a sense of natural calm.
Recent research out of Germany studied the link between Magnesium and stress when it came to sleep. A recent study found that increasing participants’ daily Magnesium intake helped individuals regulate both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
The sympathetic nervous system, as opposed to the “rest and digest” system, is known as the “fight or flight” system. By helping regulate this stress response, Magnesium can help reduce stress in your body.
Regulating these two systems is important for healthy sleep. When Magnesium supplementation helps address these two opposing responses, participants saw a decrease in sleep disorders and irritability.
When we’re going through a hard time emotionally, our sleep can become impaired as well, contributing to a vicious low-energy loop. Luckily, research suggests that Magnesium might be an effective natural support for helping improve mood. A 2015 study found that Magnesium supplementation helped improve low mood, and that this link was even stronger in younger adults. It was also shown to help symptoms of fatigue.
The research suggested that the mineral has the ability to impact neurotransmitters that may affect our emotions. When individuals took higher doses of Magnesium, their moods were shown to improve.
Restless leg syndrome
One thing that keeps many people (up to 10 percent of the population) from achieving good sleep is restless leg syndrome. This is a disorder that causes an uncomfortable urge to move your legs. This sensation is often described as a tingling feeling. It can happen during the day or even worse, at night, when your body is supposed to be coming to a place of stillness so you can start to sleep.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) can be associated with periods of inactivity, and can become worse at night when your body is inactive and trying to sleep. When you are asleep, your legs might be moving around too much, causing you to not be getting true rest.
A Mayo Clinic study found that Magnesium could be used as an effective natural form of therapy to address RLS. Magnesium salt baths have also been shown to be helpful in reducing leg cramps in pregnant women. Studies also indicate that Magnesium Citrate in particular can help relieve nighttime muscle cramps and leg aches in all adults.
If you tend to be a midnight snacker or have ever had a sugary dessert right before sleep, you probably know that digestive processes can mess with your deep rest.
Magnesium is a mineral that’s vital for gut health and your digestive microbiome. For that reason, a Magnesium supplement is often used to relieve constipation or heartburn after dinner. Some of its functions are to ease the muscles in your intestines, neutralize stomach acids, and promote a healthy tract.
We also know that there’s a link between gut health and mood. If low mood and stress are keeping you up at night, your gut could be partially to blame. Research from Denmark has shown that adults who are deficient in Magnesium could be more prone to low mood due to imbalances in the gut microbiome.
Additional Benefits of Magnesium
Aside from just assisting your sleep, Magnesium also plays a critical role in hundreds of other processes in your body. It’s known to be beneficial for the following aspects of health and wellness:
- Muscle health
- Bone health
- Pain relief
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How to Supplement Magnesium for Better Sleep
Ideally, we would get our recommended dose of Magnesium from the foods we eat. But many of us have a hard time meeting our dosage needs through diet alone. Here’s a quick guide to supplementing Magnesium, and Magnesium Citrate in particular.
What kind of Magnesium to take for sleep
While there are many different kinds of Magnesium supplements available, they’re not all created equal. Look for forms of Magnesium dietary supplements that are easy for your body to absorb, like chelated magnesium. A chelate is a mineral bound to an amino acid, which improves bioavailability, limits certain actives from competing for absorption, and reduces any gut discomfort.
Magnesium Citrate is easily absorbed by your body, and research suggests it’s among the most bioavailable forms. Other forms, like Magnesium Oxide and Magnesium Sulfate, have been shown to have low bioavailability, while the flow agent Magnesium Stearate even negatively affects bioavailability.
Magnesi-Om® contains 3 highly bioavailable forms of Magnesium plus L-Theanine. Chelated Magnesium Gluconate and Acetyl Taurinate support muscle relaxation and cognitive function, while Magnesium Citrate supports regular bowel movements.* L-Theanine promotes alpha‑wave activity in the brain, shown to encourage a focused calm.* This Magnesium powder supplement instantly dissolves in water, tastes like berries, and is sugar-free.
When to take Magnesium for sleep
So when is the best time to take Magnesium? Take one teaspoon of Magnesi-Om® at night or when you need to chill. Try taking it about 1 to 2 hours before bed in order to start the unwinding process.
Tips for taking Magnesium
- Microdose: If you’re in a period of high stress, try micro-dosing Magnesi-Om® throughout the day for a time-release effect. Add 1/4 tsp in water, 4 times throughout the day.
- Pair with Vitamin D: Magnesium is essential for healthy bones; it facilitates the conversion of Vitamin D into its active form. When Vitamin D is active, Calcium can be absorbed into the bones. Take a Vitamin D supplement for synergistic effects. You can find D in Moon Juice supplements like SuperHair®, SuperBeauty®, and SuperPower®.
Sleep disturbances can be complex and varied, ranging from stress and anxiety to medical conditions like sleep apnea. No one practice is a cure-all for everyone’s sleep problems, but the right mineral supplementation can go a long way.
Magnesium Citrate is a promising natural dietary supplement that has many Magnesium brain benefits, and can potentially help individuals struggling with sleep disturbances like those due to stress, low mood, RLS, and gut issues, to name a few. Several studies have shown that Magnesium supplementation can help to improve sleep quality. Magnesium Citrate, in particular, has been found to have higher bioavailability and absorption compared to other forms of the micronutrient, making it a popular choice for sleep support.
If you’re considering supplementation because of a sleep problem, choose responsibly sourced and chelated forms like those found in Magnesi-Om® to restore cellular balance for relaxation, brain health, and sleep.*
Sleep is foundational for building health. So, while a dietary supplement like Magnesium Citrate might be helpful for individuals, it’s always a good idea to practice sleep hygiene habits to support holistic health. When you can, maintain a consistent sleep schedule, create a comfortable sleep environment in your room, and avoid stimulants and snacks before bedtime to improve sleep quality. A combination of these approaches may provide the best results if you want a more restful sleep.
- Boonstra E, de Kleijn R, Colzato LS, Alkemade A, Forstmann BU, Nieuwenhuis S. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594160/
- Neurotransmitters as food supplements: the effects of GABA on brain and behavior. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594160/
- Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23853635/
- Held K, Antonijevic IA, Künzel H, Uhr M, Wetter TC, Golly IC, Steiger A, Murck H. Oral Mg(2+) supplementation reverses age-related neuroendocrine and sleep EEG changes in humans. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12163983/
- Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452159/
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
- Walker AF, Marakis G, Christie S, Byng M. Mg citrate found more bioavailable than other Mg preparations in a randomised, double-blind study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14596323/
- Wienecke E, Nolden C. Langzeit-HRV-Analyse zeigt Stressreduktion durch Magnesiumzufuhr [Long-term HRV analysis shows stress reduction by magnesium intake]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27933574/
- Zisapel N. New perspectives on the role of melatonin in human sleep, circadian rhythms and their regulation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6057895/