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Does Magnesium Really Help With Sleep?

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Does Magnesium Really Help With Sleep?

April 2nd, 2024

If you’re active on social media, you’ll no doubt have come across the trend of magnesium. Influencers and brands alike have been spreading their claims of the benefits of magnesium including everything from healthier muscle function, cramp prevention and better sleep. But, does magnesium help with sleep or is this just another supplement trend or is there some science to back it up?

Let’s delve into the facts:

Magnesium status and sleep quality: A systematic review in 2022 found that observational studies have suggested an association (not causation) between magnesium status and sleep quality, where ‘sleep quality refers to things such as falling asleep during the day, sleepiness, snoring and sleep duration. However, randomised control trials (RCTs) – recognised as a gold standard when it comes to scientific evidence – have reported contradictory findings, showing an uncertainty in the association between magnesium supplementation and sleep disorders. 

Some research suggests that there needs to be better designed clinical trials to further clarify any conclusions about the relationship between magnesium and its effects on sleep.

With research inconclusive, is it worth taking a magnesium supplement?
Magnesium plays an important role in many body processes, including the generation of energy and proper cell function. A third of our body’s magnesium is found in bone and another third in muscles and soft tissue, so it is a vital nutrient that our body needs. 

The recommended intake of magnesium from food sources in adults is between 310mg – 320mg/day from women and 400-420mg/day for men (depending on age). Our intake of magnesium largely comes from both plant and animal sources, including green vegetables, legumes, peas, beans, nuts, some shellfish and even some spices. If your diet is low in these foods, you may be at risk of a deficiency, however, you’d need testing and a diagnosis from your doctor to confirm. 

In general, supplementation of magnesium would likely not be recommended unless a deficiency is identified that can not be corrected through food alone.

Is there a risk of magnesium supplementation?
According to the Eat For Health guidelines, the upper limit for adults 19+ of 350mg/day from supplements has been established  as adverse effects such as diarrhoea can occur if taken in excess. 

So is it worth it for the benefits of a better nights’ sleep?
We’d say you’re probably better off saving your money on supplements and instead implementing a good sleep routine or seeking professional help if you’re suffering from a poor night’s sleep.