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Have you ever wakened far too early and resigned yourself to tossing and turning until time to get up? This scenario is common. We were pleased to learn that one reader found a simple supplement could help her sleep better throughout the night.

Magnesium to Sleep Better:

Q. I usually fall asleep okay, but then I wake up in the middle of the night. A friend told me to take magnesium before bedtime. That worked! I rarely wake up at 3:30 AM now.

Sleep is a wonderful thing! I’m reading more and more about how most of us are deficient in magnesium anyway, so a supplement is okay.

Adequacy of Magnesium Intake:

A. Magnesium is indeed essential for good health. Many people develop insufficiency in this mineral, especially as they age. The federal Office of Dietary Supplements notes that Americans’ intakes of magnesium from their diets are consistently lower than recommended. Older people, heavy drinkers, people with type 2 diabetes and those with digestive disorders (especially those taking PPIs) are all at risk for magnesium inadequacy.

Will Magnesium Help You Sleep Better?

A small placebo-controlled trial concluded that there was significant improvement in both subjective and objective measures of insomnia with magnesium supplementation (Abbasi et al, Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, Dec. 2012). A small Spanish study found that older people could sleep better after soaking in magnesium-rich mineral hot springs (Latorre-Román et al, Psychogeriatrics, March 2015). We can’t say, though, whether that effect is due to transdermal absorption of magnesium or the relaxing effects of a hot bath.

Cautions About Magnesium:

Too much magnesium from laxatives or supplements can lead to diarrhea, however. In addition, those with reduced kidney function should steer clear of this element.

Other Approaches to Help You Sleep Better:

You can learn more about the pros and cons of sleeping pills and nondrug approaches for insomnia from our comprehensive online resource, the Graedons’ Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.

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  1. Linda
    Sparta NJ

    Can Magnesium interact with 10mg of Lisinopril?

  2. Linda
    Sparta NJ

    What dosage would a 75 year old healthy woman take of magnesium for sleep? My only med is Lisinopril 10 mg. Thank you

  3. Ezekiel

    I use magnesium oxide for its laxative effects. No other types of magnesium help me in that way.

  4. John

    I’ve read many times that taking the right kind of magnesium will avoid the diarrhea problem. I’ve been taking magnesium glycinate for years (1000 mg a day in powder form) and never had that problem.

    I’m curious as to why you never mention this. Is my information incorrect?

  5. Lynne

    What foods contain magnesium?

  6. Rob

    After several years of waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to get back to sleep, I started taking 400 mg. of Magnesium Citrate and have been sleeping well ever since. I had previously tried melatonin, valerian and a lot of other natural remedies over the years but to no avail. Another reason I began taking Magnesium is that, after taking PPIs (e.g. Nexium) for many years, I learned that they could lead to a Magnesium deficiency. I’ve since weaned myself off the PPIs, but continue to take Magnesium daily.

  7. Sandy
    North Carolina

    I had a kidney removed January 2016 Because of cancer . Should I stay away from magnesium as a supplement because the chemo damaged my other kidney.

    • Terry Graedon

      Yes, you should avoid magnesium supplements. They might put too much strain on your remaining kidney.

  8. Jan

    I find taking a 400mg tablet of magnesium (the supplement I have been using is magnesium oxide) each night has diminished occurrences of restless legs, also I sometimes use magnesium lotion on my calves before going to bed.

  9. jamer

    I love this post! This is a great article it helps me to have a new perspective on having a simple detox drink. Can anyone help me for this. I would greatly appreciate it.

  10. Deb

    I use magnesium glycinate to avoid intestinal issue.

  11. Mat Ratra

    Mg alone is miss leading. There should be salt name? MgO2, Citrate, etc.

    This was bought to your attention before & it is ignored.

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