Magnesium and Sleep
About 25% of adults are dissatisfied with their sleep (1). We know the benefits of sleeping well and that is why we try many ways to fix this problem. Today, many believe that taking magnesium supplements has a positive influence on sleep. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature by Armand Arab and al. gives us a better understanding on the influence of magnesium on sleep. This text explains what magnesium is used for, certain risks of deficiency as well as the results of the study.
What is magnesium used for?
Magnesium is an essential mineral in our diet. It is one of the most abundant minerals in our body. It is found mainly in our bones and a little in our bloodstream. It plays a role in more than 300 metabolic reactions in our body such as:
The synthesis of our proteins
The metabolism of our bones
And much more.
It is rare for someone to have a magnesium deficiency. It is estimated that only 2% of the general population suffers from it. On the other hand, the following conditions increase the risk of suffering from a lack of magnesium: alcoholism, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, type 2 diabetes, certain medications, etc. (2).
Signs of possible magnesium deficiencies:
Cardiac ischemia (3)
Loss of appetite (4).
High intake of magnesium in the diet (Observational studies)
Observational studies (one cohort study and 3 cross-sectional studies) have reported an association between higher magnesium intake and sleep quality (daytime sleepiness, drowsiness, snoring and sleep duration) for healthy adults (5).
5 studies (with control groups) reported a positive effect of magnesium supplementation on the PSQI score (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index: self-assessment questionnaire that assesses the quality of sleep over a month), sleep duration as well as sleep efficiency. On the other hand, the samples of subjects who tested the supplementation are small, i.e. from 12 to 100 people and the duration of the studies was short, i.e. less than 12 weeks (5)
Maximum amount of Magnesium
The maximum amount of supplemental magnesium for an adult 19 years and older is 350 mg. If one consumes more than this amount, some side effects may occur such as diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps (4), etc.
Finally, there is a lack of studies to prove that magnesium supplementation improves the quality or duration of sleep. On the other hand, most studies report a positive association between magnesium and sleep. In addition, magnesium needs can be met with a balanced diet. For more answers to your questions, contact me!
See you next time,
Karine Drouin, registered dietitian RD
1- Chaput, J.P. et al. (2018). Prévalence de l’insomnie chez les Canadiens âgés de 6 à 79 ans. Statistiques Canada. retrouvé le 30 avril 2022, en ligne au https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2018012/article/00002-fra.htm
2- Gragossian, A., Bashir, K., Friede, R. (Novembre 2021). StatPearls Publishing. Hypomagnesemia. Retrouvé le 27 Avril 2022, en ligne au https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500003/
3- Dix, M and Falck, S. (2018). Hypomagnesemia (Low Magnesium). Retrouvé le 27 Avril 2022, en ligne au https://www.healthline.com/health/hypomagnesemia#symptoms
4- National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2021, March 22). Magnesium Fact Sheet for Consumers. osd.nih.gov. Retrouvé le 27 Avril 2022, en ligne au https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/
5- Arab, A., Rafie, N., Amani, R., & Shirani, F. (2022, February 19). The role of magnesium in sleep health: A systematic review of available literature - biological trace element research. SpringerLink. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12011-022-03162-1