June 28, 2021

Does Magnesium Help You Sleep?

The scoop on magnesium sleep aids

Circular orange pills spilling out of a tipped-over bottle

In the eternal quest for a good night’s sleep, magnesium has gained attention as the latest supplement of note. Could this mineral help you catch some ZZZs?


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


“Overall, the evidence for magnesium is thin, but some people have found it helps them,” says integrative medicine specialist Naoki Umeda, MD. Here’s what to know about magnesium sleep aids.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a nutrient that’s involved in several important bodily functions. It plays a role in muscle and nerve function, is involved in regulating blood pressure and blood sugar, and even helps build bones and DNA.

Some research shows it may also be a better alternative to counting sheep.

“Magnesium may help regulate neurotransmitters that are directly related to sleep,” Dr. Umeda says. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit messages between nerve cells in your brain and body. (It’s important to note that magnesium plays only a supporting role in their function.)

If you eat a balanced diet, you probably get plenty of magnesium. “It’s widely available in both plant and animal foods such as dairy products, leafy greens, nuts, legumes and whole grains,” Dr. Umeda says. “And magnesium deficiency is rare in healthy people.”


However, you may be at risk of magnesium deficiency if you:

  • Are an older adult.
  • Have Type 2 diabetes.
  • Have a gastrointestinal disorder.
  • Have alcohol use disorder.

Magnesium for sleep

Can taking magnesium help you get the rest you crave? Some studies have found that magnesium supplements can:

  • Make it easier to fall asleep.
  • Improve sleep quality.
  • Reduce symptoms of restless legs syndrome, which can interfere with a good night’s sleep.

Sounds great, right? Not so fast. “The studies on sleep and magnesium were all small studies, and the evidence is thin,” Dr. Umeda says.

It’s technically possible for a doctor to test your magnesium levels, but the findings aren’t very beneficial, Dr. Umeda says. Some people with low levels of magnesium sleep just fine, after all, and having it in your system is no guarantee of a sound snooze.

What’s the right magnesium dosage for sleep?

Magnesium supplements are safe, in general, but they could potentially interfere with some medications. Talk to your doctor before adding them to your routine.

If you plan to try magnesium supplements for sleep, look for these products:

  • Magnesium glycinate (200 milligrams).
  • Magnesium citrate (200 milligrams).

Avoid magnesium oxide, which is a stool softener and probably much less helpful for your insomnia.

Dr. Umeda recommends taking the supplement about 30 minutes before bedtime. And don’t take more than the recommended amount. More won’t help you sleep better, but it may cause stomach upset.

While magnesium might improve your slumber, it’s no substitute for a good sleep routine, Dr. Umeda says. “Limit caffeine, create a dark, cool sleeping environment and don’t use a smartphone or other devices before bed,” he says.

Dr. Umeda says there are other supplements he’d recommend first, including melatonin, valerian and chamomile tea. “But if those don’t work,” he says, “it’s worth giving magnesium a try.”

Related Articles

Older woman awake in bed in the middle of the night looking a smartphone
February 20, 2024
Does Menopause Cause Insomnia and Sleeplessness?

Hormone changes can definitely leave you tossing and turning at night, but help is available

smoothie with acheta protein powder in scoop
January 24, 2024
What Is Acheta Protein? What To Know About Eating Crickets

This edible insect powder can be a good source of protein, fiber and other nutrients

female awake in bed staring ahead with male next to her asleep
January 19, 2024
3 Steps for Managing Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

Keeping a sleep diary and seeing a sleep specialist can help you stay asleep and get the ZZZs you need

close up of green coffee beans
December 14, 2023
Should You Go Green? What To Know About Green Coffee Bean Extract

There’s no evidence to prove this supplement can help with weight loss, and it may come with risks

Oranges in bowl and tofu meal in bowl
December 7, 2023
Should You Take Iron With Vitamin C?

This pairing has long been thought to help your body better absorb iron

variety of food groups containing manganese and magnesium
November 29, 2023
Manganese vs. Magnesium: Two Important Minerals With Key Differences

They’re both essential minerals but do different jobs in your body

magnesium pills out of container spelling out MG
November 27, 2023
Magnesium for Anxiety: Does It Help?

This supplement may help with regulating cortisol levels, which may help with stress

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
November 7, 2023
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try

Trending Topics

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try

Exercise and diet over three months is hard to accomplish.
Everything You Need To Know About the 75 Hard Challenge

Following five critical rules daily for 75 days may not be sustainable

Person in foreground standing in front of many presents with person in background holding gift bags.
What Is Love Bombing?

This form of psychological and emotional abuse is often disguised as excessive flattery