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Sleep Science

The 4 Ways Magnesium Improves Your Sleep

In this article

Our blog post on the top five natural sleep supplements pointed out Magnesium as a brilliant sleep aid that also has a lot of other health benefits. #Magnesium now has over 600 million views on TikTok, with everyone - including doctors - raving about how beneficial it is for your overall well being.

We wanted to take a deeper dive into exactly how a magnesium supplement can help you sleep, as well as the most effective ways to take it.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that is found in a variety of foods we eat every day - you’ll likely be consuming magnesium without even knowing it!

This mineral is vital for over 300 bodily processes, such as helping our bodies turn food into energy, as well as regulate our sleep-wake cycle.

The maximum recommended daily amount of magnesium is:

420mg
For men
360mg
For women
A spray bottle of magnesium oil next to a small wooden bowl of magnesium flakes on grass.

How can you take magnesium?

Lots of foods are naturally high in magnesium, such as black beans, spinach and cashew nuts. You can, however, also find magnesium supplements if you wish to increase your intake even more. These supplements can be found in a variety of forms, such as:

Sprays and lotions

Transdermal magnesium products contain magnesium oil, and can be applied directly to the skin to be absorbed and get to work quickly. The magnesium goes straight to your blood vessels and muscles, targeting precise areas.

Massage therapists often use magnesium lotions on their clients, as it can help to loosen knots in muscles and joints. Magnesium fuels enzymatic reactions, which are key for deep tissue massages.

Baths salts

You’ve probably heard of Epsom bath salts before, but did you know they’re also known as Magnesium sulphate? These flakes have been used for hundreds of years due to the health benefits of magnesium - plus you get to relax in a warm bath too!

Magnesium can be great for your skin, helping to treat and prevent acne as well as premature ageing.

Capsules

The most common form of supplement, a capsule or tablet is an easy way of increasing your magnesium levels. It’s absorbed through your digestive system, so you shouldn’t take them on an empty stomach, and make sure you don’t go over your daily recommended intake.

Top view of woman in bath covered in bubbles, pouring bath salts into her open hand.

Four ways magnesium improves your sleep

Magnesium has a variety of health benefits. By helping your body go about its natural processes more effectively, this clever mineral can improve your sleep drastically. Here are the top four ways that magnesium benefits your sleep:

1. Eliminates tiredness and fatigue during the day

Magnesium helps to balance your energy levels during the day, so you don’t end up too tired or wide awake come bedtime.

Plus, we all know the feeling of waking up groggy after a nap - increasing your levels of magnesium will reduce your need to sleep during the day, so you can get a better night’s sleep at the appropriate time.

By supporting your body’s natural circadian rhythm (your sleep-wake cycle), magnesium helps to alert your brain and body when it’s time to sleep or time to wake up. Circadian rhythm disorders can seriously impact your quality of sleep - magnesium can help to prevent your body falling asleep or waking up at the wrong times, reducing the likelihood of sleep phase syndromes.

Our article on ‘the most common sleep disorders explained’ will give you more information on these sleeping problems.

2. Prevents nighttime aches and pains

Studies have shown that magnesium can improve the bone density of both men and women. Magnesium helps the effects of Vitamin D in your body, which your body uses for bone creation and strengthening.

Magnesium also prevents your muscles from tightening too much, which can cause injury. It helps your muscles relax and loosen, preventing cramps. So, if you’re one for the gym, consider upping your magnesium intake.

By loosening your muscles and strengthening your bones, you’re much less likely to experience aches and pains at night that keep you up. These pains can make it hard to find a position comfortable for sleeping, making falling asleep impossible.

More studies have shown that magnesium plays a pivotal role in pain management, helping your body process and effectively deal with the pain. It can also help with managing headaches and acute migraines due to its anti-inflammatory properties, so those won’t keep you up at night either.

Woman sat up in bed clutching her calf, experiencing leg cramp and muscle pain.

3. Reduces anxious thoughts and other mental health problems

Research has suggested that magnesium deficiency can result in depression. Incredibly, it’s been found that an increase in magnesium levels can improve symptoms for those suffering from a range of mental illnesses, from anxiety and suicidal thoughts to short term memory loss.

Magnesium can reduce the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the brain, as well as helps the nervous system work more effectively. This results in your brain and body being able to process emotions rationally, preventing mental health problems.

Depression and anxiety can severely impact your quality of sleep, with anxious thoughts keeping you from drifting off, or depression making you sleep too much. By reducing the symptoms of your mental health problems, magnesium can drastically improve your sleep. Our article on the correlation between mental health and sleep can give you more information on how closely the two are related.

4. Helps your brain and body physically relax

By helping your nervous system work more effectively, magnesium also encourages your brain to relax and wind down when it’s time to sleep.

Chemically, magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes your body, specifically after a period of stress. If you’ve had a particularly stressful day, you might find getting to sleep at night particularly difficult. However, a good level of magnesium in your body will ensure you don’t struggle to relax and drift off.

Relaxing physically can also ease the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), which can seriously hinder your quality of sleep.

Relaxing physically can also ease the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), which can seriously hinder your quality of sleep.

Magnesium can help to calm your mind, relax your muscles and let you drift gently to sleep without the need for additional sleeping tablets. Although, if you do usually take medication for sleep, we recommend speaking to your doctor before making any changes.

Woman with glasses laying in bed reading a book.

Which type and form of magnesium is best for sleep?

You can try a magnesium body spray as part of your bedtime routine. Sprays such as the BetterYou Magnesium Sleep Spray can be sprayed onto clean skin and massaged in around 30 minutes before bed. You might feel a slight tingling sensation as the magnesium oil gets to work, quickly absorbing into your bloodstream. This will calm your senses and quickly replenish your magnesium levels.

In fact, BetterYou have a whole range of magnesium body lotions and body butters, mixed with nourishing shea butter or lavender oil. They even have an oral spray, all designed specifically for improved sleep.

You can also find magnesium massage bars, such as Lush’s Deep Sleep bar, which is infused with lavender and chamomile. These three elements each have sleep inducing properties, in fact, Lush say that 81% of their customers found their sleep improved after using this product.

Magnesium is an excellent mineral to use in massage products due to how quickly it can relax your muscles and mind.

If sprays or lotions aren’t for you, consider a capsule supplement. These are absorbed through your digestive system, so don’t take them on an empty stomach, and also take them around 30 minutes before you intend to sleep.

Before considering a magnesium supplement, you can try increasing your intake through magnesium rich foods such as spinach and whole grains. Water also has magnesium in it, so be sure to stay hydrated.

Before considering a magnesium supplement, you can try increasing your intake through magnesium rich foods such as spinach and whole grains. Water also has magnesium in it, so be sure to stay hydrated.

Woman sat in bed rubbing lotion into her arm.

We recommend you don’t take more than the maximum recommended daily intake of magnesium, and speak to your doctor if you’re unsure. You can always research more and read the label of any supplement you do purchase.

When should you take magnesium for sleep?

If you’re taking magnesium to improve your sleep, it’s recommended to use it - in whichever form you’ve chosen - 30 minutes before bed. This will give the mineral just enough time to calm your nervous system and prepare your mind and body for sleep.

Of course, you can also take magnesium as part of your morning routine if you’re looking to increase your levels more generally. Taking magnesium alongside zinc can benefit your overall well being even more, as zinc will protect and strengthen your immune system, while magnesium takes care of your bones, heart and nerves.

We do recommend speaking to your doctor if you are on any other medications, including sleeping tablets, as magnesium may impact their effectiveness.

We do recommend speaking to your doctor if you are on any other medications, including sleeping tablets, as magnesium may impact their effectiveness.

Young woman sat on a sofa with a pill bottle pouring a supplement into her hand.

Remember to take a look at our article on the 5 Natural Sleep Supplements To Help You Sleep Better, which will give you an insight into other natural sleep aids, such as Sea Moss and Valerian. If you don’t think supplements are for you, why not consider a sleep-enhancing tea, instead.

An image of the author, Jamie Latham, Sleep and Technology Expert Jamie Latham, Sleep and Technology Expert Bio & articles

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