The Role of Magnesium in sleep. 😴

Posted by Your Remedy Naturopathy on Sunday, 26 March 2017

Magnesium –  a key nutrient

Magnesium is one most common intracellular mineral that has over 300 biochemical functions in the body including the production of neurotransmitters, muscle contraction – relaxation phase and cellular energy production via the citric acid cycle.


What magnesium does for sleep

  1. Required to manufacture melatonin. Magnesium is required to take methione to SAMe.
  2. Makes melatonin last longer – higher magnesium means melatoin will stick around longer. This can be a factor if you wake up early in the morning – a night time dose of magnesium can be beneficial
  3. Higher magnesium gives a more refreshing sleep.
  4. Converts amino acid tryptophan to serotonin which is a precursor to melatonin. This is one reason why selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants can make you feel sleepy.
  5. Production of  the neurotransmitter, GABA.  Magnesium also binds to GABA receptors improving length and quality of slow wave or refreshing sleep
  6. Relaxes tight muscles
  7. Help keeps cortisol in check. Magnesium helps cortisol breakdown.
  8. Regulates insulin and blood sugar


Symptoms of low magnesium

  • Loss appetite or sugar cravings
  • Depression/anxiety
  • sleep disturbance – unrefreshed, daytime sleepiness
  • PMS – period pain, menorrhagia
  • twitching eye
  • muscle aches, cramps
  • cold hands and feet
  • fatigue


Increased requirements


You may have increased needs for magnesium in the following circumstances:

  • Moderate to high consumption of alcohol
  • More than 200mg of caffeine per day
  • High refined carbohydrate diet/fructose
  • Prolonged stress. Your body dumps magnesium to heighten the stress response
  • Prolonged diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Digestive issues
  • Medications – metformin, oral contraceptive pill & hormone replacement therapy, certain diuretics and corticosteroids


Food sources of magnesium

The amount of magnesium in foods depends on the mineral content of the soil it is grown in.

  • leafy greens
  • almonds and cashews
  • cocoa
  • whole grains
  • eggs
  • avocado


Magnesium is generally considered to be safe with a daily adult dose of 200-400mg. If you have a health condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding please check with your health professional before starting any supplementation.



Norelle Hentschel is a degree qualified Naturopath and operates a clinic in Crows Nest, North Sydney. She enjoys helping people feel better and can assist with a broad range of health conditions or general health maintenance.


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