Magnesium and insomnia connection

Magnesium benefits in Insomnia

Has deep, restful sleep become elusive? Stress and anxiety are likely the cause of sleepless nights. Even worse, the lack of sleep further contributes to stress, becoming a tiresome and vicious cycle that is hard to break.

Lack of sleep can be triggered by issues such as stress, depression, and fibromyalgia. Whatever the cause, insufficient sleep can be detrimental to your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. During sleep, your body repairs damaged tissues and gets you ready and energized for the day ahead. It is also when your body releases important hormones needed to maintain a healthy body and mind.

It is far better to nip insomnia and sleep issues in the bud before they get the better of you. Studies show that chronic sleep deprivation can cause depression, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. [1-3].

While doctors often recommend sleeping pills to help you sleep, they can actually wreak havoc on your brain chemicals. Instead, you can implement lifestyle modifications like regular exercise, reducing stress, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and practicing proper sleep hygiene. However, you may need a little extra support if you are overstressed and chronically sleep-deprived. This is where magnesium for insomnia comes in.

How does magnesium help you sleep better?

Magnesium supplements for insomnia reduce your stress levels and induce a natural calming effect over the body and mind. In short, magnesium helps to wind your body down and prepares you to fall into a restful sleep.

Here’s how magnesium deficiency and insomnia are connected, and how magnesium works to usher in those all-important zzz’s.

1.   Relaxes muscles

Relaxed muscles are a precursor to healthy, sound sleep. Tense muscles and leg cramps often wake people up during the night, and painfully so. Magnesium makes sure that excess calcium is kept out of the cells, helping muscles to relax (calcium signals muscles to contract). Muscle cramps can happen if you are taking calcium supplements but are deficient in magnesium.

2.   Calms the nervous system and regulates stress hormones

Magnesium insomnia support is as simple as this: magnesium helps to equip the body so it can combat stress and calm an overexcited nervous system. Ironically, your body tends to lose more magnesium through urine when it is dealing with stress. So, while a constant state of stress makes you more deficient in magnesium, low magnesium levels make you sensitive to stress.

Magnesium balances the excitatory roles of calcium and glutamate (a neurotransmitter), helping the nerves to relax, preventing the nervous system from remaining in a state of excitement. Magnesium also increases the production of GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms you down. Low GABA levels trigger anxiety, making relaxation and sleep hard to come by.

What’s more, magnesium works in the adrenal glands to regulate the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. Magnesium also helps with serotonin synthesis, a hormone known for its role in regulating mood, sleep, and body temperature.

A 2016 study found that magnesium intake can reduce mental and physical stress and can help to “prevent magnesium deficiency and diseases such as, for example, restlessness, irritability, lack of concentration, sleep disorder or depression.” [4]

Considering the role of magnesium in relaxation and the alleviation of stress, magnesium can effectively be included in your plan to treat insomnia. It is also pertinent to mention that low levels of magnesium are associated with “stressful conditions such as photosensitive headache, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, audiogenic stress, cold stress, and physical stress”. [5] Such conditions also affect sleep quality, making it difficult to fall asleep and remain asleep throughout the night.

If you are planning on taking regular (non-liposomal) oral magnesium supplements, it’s important to know that your body doesn’t fully absorb magnesium in this form. Instead, rubbing magnesium oil on your skin is a much better way to achieve maximum absorption and benefits if you want a less expensive alternative to the more beneficial liposomal form. Topical magnesium oil is the best alternative type of magnesium for insomnia. Start by applying a small amount and work your way up to greater amounts once your skin gets used to it.

You may be wondering whether or not your diet can provide sufficient amounts of magnesium. True, our diet should be a great source of vitamins and minerals, but with modern agricultural practices taking over, our soil, and therefore, our food, is not as rich in micronutrients as it used to be.

That’s not to say that you should swap a healthy diet for supplements. Organically grown nuts, beans, seeds, whole grains, and leafy vegetables are great sources of magnesium and provide other nutrients crucial for optimal health.

However, when stress mounts to levels your body cannot sufficiently handle, you certainly require additional help in the form of high-quality supplements.

Have you ever used magnesium to treat your insomnia? Let us know how magnesium oil and, if you have tried it, liposomal magnesium have helped you to sleep better.


  1. Li L, Wu C, Gan Y, Qu X, Lu Z. Insomnia and the risk of depression: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMC Psychiatry. 2016;16:375. doi:10.1186/s12888-016-1075-3.
  2. Yun Li, Alexandros N. Vgontzas, Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Edward O. Bixler, Yuanfeng Sun, Junying Zhou, Rong Ren, Tao Li, and Xiangdong Tang. Insomnia With Physiological Hyperarousal Is Associated With Hypertension. Hypertension, January 2015
  3. Sofi F, Cesari F, Casini A, Macchi C, Abbate R, Gensini GF. Insomnia and risk of cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis. Eur J Prev Cardiol 2014;21:57-64.
  5. Magda Cuciureanu, Robert Vink. Magnesium and stress. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. Chapter 19.