Magnesium can help you sleep well. How does a deficiency cause trouble sleeping?

Sleep issues have a significant impact on our well-being and health. We become distracted, irritable, have difficulty concentrating, and lack energy to act when we are sleepless and tired. Many factors can contribute to the deterioration of sleep hygiene, but one of them is a magnesium deficiency in the body. This element regulates nervous system function, supports brain function, and reduces nerve cell conductivity. Furthermore, it regulates the secretion of hormones that have a positive effect on sleep quality.

Magnesium is good for sleep problems.
Photo by John-Mark Smith on

The most common causes of sleep problems

Many factors can contribute to difficulty falling asleep. Most of the time, stress or an overabundance of stimuli are to blame. When we are overstimulated or have had a day full of tasks or strong emotions, it is difficult to unwind in the evening. Our brain does not slow down, and instead of calming down, it processes and catalogs our experiences, causing difficulty falling asleep.

Other sleep problems include:

  • anxiety disorders
  • abuse of stimulants (caffeine, energy drinks and other stimulants)
  • eating heavy meals at night.
  • irregular lifestyle (e.g., working night shifts)
  • sedentary lifestyle (lack of movement and physical activity)

Can magnesium deficiency cause difficulty falling asleep and worsen sleep?

Magnesium is an element that can help you reduce stress and fatigue in your body. It regulates the nervous system’s activity, regenerates muscles, and influences heart function—all of which make it easier to relax and unwind after a long day.

A lack of magnesium in the body can result in the overproduction of stress hormones. These, in turn, act as a stimulus for the brain, causing it to work harder. When our cortisol and other stress hormone levels are too high, we become energized, focused, and ready to act. Our brain cannot calm down in such a situation, so we cannot fall asleep quickly.

Effect of magnesium on sleep quality

Magnesium deficiency in the body can not only make it difficult to fall asleep, but it can also have a negative impact on sleep quality. We sleep more shallowly when we are tired, so we wake up sleepy and depleted of energy.

Magnesium not only helps you set a time to rest, but it also helps your body get into a calm and healing state. The element influences nervous system function not only by lowering nerve cell excitability but also by binding to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. As a result, nerve cells work slower, and we can relax and fall asleep more easily.

When should I take magnesium to improve sleep?

It’s important to eat foods high in magnesium and take magnesium supplements in the morning to reduce stress, boost melatonin production, and get the mind ready for sleep. When given after a protein-rich meal, it works better. The recommended daily dose of magnesium for an adult is 300-400 mg, but the need may be greater in physically active or stressed individuals.

Magnesium supplementation helps to prepare the mind for sleep, reduce stress, and improve the regeneration of the body. It also regulates the secretion of melatonin, which facilitates falling asleep.



4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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