Getting Your Zzz’s: The Best Magnesium for Sleep

As a primary care physician, I often have patients coming in with poor sleep quality asking what natural methods can help them get deeper, more restful sleep. One supplement I frequently recommend is magnesium. The right type and dose of magnesium can work wonders for improving sleep.  Magnesium is a cofactor for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including ones that regulate neurotransmitters and nerve signaling involved in sleep. It also binds to and activates NMDA receptors in the brain which help control nerve excitability that can interfere with sleep.

Absorbing the Best Form for Sleep Success

Some forms of magnesium are better absorbed than others. Magnesium glycinate, for example, consists of magnesium chemically bonded to glycine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This allows it to readily cross the blood-brain barrier and decrease neuronal firing, promoting a calming effect ideal for quality sleep. The dose is generally 200-500mg elemental magnesium taken about 30 minutes before bedtime.

Don’t Let Laxatives Keep You Running to the Bathroom!

Magnesium citrate is another form that can help with sleep, but it tends to act as an osmotic laxative. So I recommend taking it 2-3 hours before bed and avoiding it close to sleep time. The citrate component combats acidosis which can disrupt sleep. The dose is 150-300mg elemental magnesium.

Magnesium Threonate – The Superior Sleep Supplement

Of all the forms, magnesium threonate may be most effective since it easily crosses into the central nervous system. At doses of 150-200mg before bedtime, it binds to NMDA receptors, blocking excitatory neurotransmission. Patients report improved sleep quality without morning grogginess.

Calm Your Mind with Magnesium and Taurine

Finally, magnesium taurate combines magnesium with taurine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Taken at 400-600mg about 30-60 minutes pre-bedtime, this calms the nervous system and brain to transition you into deep, uninterrupted sleep all night long.

The type, timing, and dosage of magnesium supplements can be tailored to each your needs and preferences.