6 Things Experts Want You To Know About Taking Magnesium To Help You Sleep

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While there are countless things you can do in order to get good sleep — such as partaking in a relaxing evening routine — many people find it helpful to take magnesium before bed, too. "This mineral plays a role in all sorts of processes within the body, including "improving blood pressure, relaxing muscles, [...] and supporting brain function," certified wellness coach David Nico, PhD, tells Bustle. But it has a relaxing quality, as well.

Taking it before bed can help you drift off and sleep comfortably throughout the night. And while it can be beneficial for anyone, it can be particularly helpful if you happen to be deficient. After all, "one of the common symptoms of magnesium deficiency is poor sleep," Amy Archer RDN, CLT, CHWC tells Bustle.

Magnesium deficiencies can occur, but if you have a balanced diet, you're probably OK. "Most of us get our recommended daily amount of magnesium from our diet as it is found in many nuts, whole grains, and green vegetables," Bill Fish, certified sleep science coach and co-founder of Tuck, tells Bustle. "There are traces of magnesium in meat and fish as well."

And yet, deficient or not, magnesium can still be a helpful sleep aid for some. Here are a few things experts want everyone to know about taking magnesium for sleep.

1. Always Take The Right Amount

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Since it's natural, it can be tempting to take more than magnesium than recommended. But as with all supplements, it's important not to go overboard. As Fish says, "The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that supplemental magnesium should not exceed 350 mg for people above the age of nine."

2. Take It Two Hours Before Bed

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Instead of hopping into bed and then taking magnesium, it's best to take it one to two hours before you're ready to sleep, Fish says. That way it'll already be in your system doing its thing.

3. Get Ready To Sleep Deeper

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Apart from helping you fall asleep, magnesium can also help you sleep deeper, "since it helps calm your nervous system by binding to GABA receptors," Fish says. "Magnesium has many of the same qualities and functions similarly to a popular sleep supplement melatonin, so it may be worth testing both supplements to see what works best in your specific situation."

4. You Can Use It Externally

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There is some evidence to suggest magnesium can be absorbed through the skin, which is why it's available in topical form.

"Transdermal magnesium alleviates the challenges with oral supplementation and time to assimilate into blood stream," Dr. Nico says. "Most apply 30 minutes prior to sleep for optimal results but always follow specific application instructions."

5. It Can Soothe Sore Muscles

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If soreness is keeping you up at night, you can also soak in a bath with magnesium and epsom salt, Dr. Nico says, which can help relax the body.

6. Get Your Doctor's Approval

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"Always get blood pressure, electrolytes, magnesium levels, etc. tested and your physician's approval first before starting a magnesium protocol," Dr. Nico says. It is a supplement, after all, so you want to make sure it's a good fit for you.

Many people, though, find magnesium to be a big help when it comes to getting better rest. Just like other sleep supplements, it simply aids the body in the process of falling asleep, while also alleviating issues — such as sore muscles — that can keep you awake.