4 Ways Magnesium Affects Your Sleep & What It Means

Lopolo / Shutterstock

If you're having trouble sleeping and melatonin supplements aren't working for you, you might be looking for another all-natch option. Enter magnesium, a mineral that occurs naturally in your body. Ways magnesium affects your sleep include improving sleep quality in some people, according to a study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. "Supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia ... sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency, early morning awakening, and likewise, insomnia objective measures such as concentration of serum renin, melatonin, and serum cortisol," the study concluded.

While magnesium is already inside of your cells and bones, according to the National Institutes of Health, you can get additional magnesium from certain foods. The NIH recommends leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and more. "In general, foods containing dietary fiber provide magnesium. Magnesium is also added to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods. Some types of food processing, such as refining grains in ways that remove the nutrient-rich germ and bran, lower magnesium content substantially." You can find a table of recommended magnesium-rich foods on the NIH website. In addition, you can also take a magnesium supplement. Ready to learn more? Here's how magnesium affects your sleep.

1. Magnesium Deficiency Is Related To Poor Sleep

Creativa Images / Shutterstock

The NIH reported that because most of your body's magnesium is located inside of your cells and bones, it's difficult to asses whether or not you're magnesium deficient. However, if you are, a study published in the book Modulation of Sleep by Obesity, Diabetes, Age, and Diet found that there is a link between low magnesium and poor sleep quality. If you're having trouble sleeping and your doctor can't identify a cause, ask about taking a magnesium supplement.

2. Low Magnesium Contributes To Stress & Anxiety

Photographee.eu / Shutterstock

While there's not a lot of research about how magnesium affects sleep, the New York Times reported that it is an essential mineral that plays an important role in a variety of bodily functions. "Magnesium deficiency has been associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety and difficulty relaxing, which are key ingredients to getting good sleep at night," Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a professor of pulmonary and sleep medicine at the University of Southern California, told Roni Caryn Rabin for the Times. Dr. Dasgupta recommended changing your diet before trying a supplement.

3. Magnesium Might Help You Fall Asleep Faster

Stock-Asso / Shutterstock

The study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that those who took a magnesium supplement fell asleep faster. While the study was conducted in the elderly, who are more likely to be magnesium deficient, there's also plenty of anecdotal evidence from people who claim magnesium improved their sleep.

4. You'll Wake Up Less In The Middle Of The Night

Wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

If getting to sleep isn't a problem for you, but staying asleep is, having proper levels of magnesium in your body could help. Medical News Today reported in a press release that a study conducted on women at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota found that those who got appropriate magnesium levels from their diets slept deeper and woke up less during the night.

If you suspect that you could be magnesium deficient, and you want to take a supplement, talk to your doctor to make sure it's right for you. (Sidebar: Taking too much magnesium could give you the trots.) In addition, focus on eating magnesium-rich foods to see if diet changes can improve your sleep quality.