Can Magnesium Glycinate Help You Sleep?

Research says it's possible!

woman taking vitamins

Stefanamer / Getty Images

Magnesium glycinate is a dietary supplement used to boost magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium helps to maintain bone health and growth.

Moreover, you may have heard that magnesium glycinate can act as a sleep aid. However, there's not a lot of scientific evidence to support this notion. Although some people have noted that it helps them achieve better sleep quality, this may not always be the case for everyone who takes it.

You can read on to learn more about this compound, how to get it and take it, its benefits, and how it affects your sleep.

What Is Magnesium Glycinate?

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is a supplement made from magnesium and an amino acid called glycine.

Why You Need Magnesium

Your body needs magnesium to keep your energy levels up, regulate nerve and muscle function and keep your blood sugar and blood pressure at optimal levels. When your body doesn't have enough magnesium, you experience nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and loss of appetite. 

Benefits of Taking Magnesium Glycinate

Research shows that supplements to boost your magnesium levels offer many benefits. Benefits include:

  • Reducing the frequency of migraines
  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Maintaining healthy bones
  • Boosting your mood
  • Improving your sleep 

Do You Need a Prescription to Take Magnesium Glycinate?

No. You do not need a prescription for magnesium glycinate. You can find it in stores or online as a dietary supplement. Magnesium is also found naturally in foods, food products, and some medicines.

Your doctor may, however, recommend that you purchase magnesium glycinate if you have a magnesium deficiency.

Can Magnesium Glycinate Help You Sleep Better?

Research into how magnesium glycinate helps regulate your sleep is relatively new. While it has long been established that magnesium supplements can help you relax and boost your mood, current research suggests that they may also help people with insomnia.

What the Research Says

In a 2012 study on how magnesium supplements could help improve insomnia symptoms in older adults, researchers found that magnesium supplements significantly improved how long and how well participants slept. It also revealed that low magnesium levels could affect the quality and length of your sleep.

Another way magnesium helps you sleep better is by regulating your gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels. GABA is an amino acid that plays a crucial role in sleep.

When you are about to go to bed, the amino acid helps to signal your brain to begin to wind down. It gradually slows your brain's communication with your nervous system until you fall asleep. Magnesium helps your body to maintain healthy GABA levels.

What Else Can Magnesium Glycinate Help With?

Aside from helping you sleep, magnesium glycinate can also aid in treating restless leg syndrome, stress, and anxiety.

Magnesium for Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a condition that affects the quality of your sleep. It causes sudden and uncontrollable movements in your leg throughout the day.

Some research suggests that the symptoms worsen at night, making falling and staying asleep difficult for people with the condition.

Research into treatments for restless leg syndrome is still ongoing, but some studies suggest that magnesium could reduce its symptoms, making for a better night's rest.

Magnesium for Stress and Anxiety 

Getting a good night's sleep can be difficult when you are stressed or anxious. In a 2016 study to determine the effects of magnesium on stress and anxiety, researchers found that mentally and physically stressed people benefited greatly from taking magnesium daily.

They determined that not only did it help prevent magnesium deficiency and conditions that occur as a result, but it also improved symptoms of irritability, depression, lack of concentration, and sleep disorder.

Other Benefits of Magnesium Glycinate

Some of the established benefits of taking magnesium supplements include:

  • Prevents migraines: Low magnesium levels have been linked to frequent headaches and migraine episodes
  • Promotes bone health: Your body requires magnesium to keep bones healthy and prevent conditions that affect bone health, such as osteoporosis. 
  • Boosts heart health: Some research suggests that magnesium may help reduce the risk of stroke and other conditions that affect your heart.
  • Improves gut health: Magnesium has been proven to help regulate gut health. People with constipation and heartburn have been shown to benefit from taking high magnesium levels. 

How Much Magnesium Should You Take?

Before taking magnesium or other supplements, you should consult your doctor to ensure that it won't contraindicate any other medications you may be on.

According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended daily magnesium intake for an adult woman is between 300 to 320 milligrams (mg) and 400 to 420 mg for an adult man. 

The Recommended Daily Magnesium Intake

  • Adult Women: Between 300 and 320 mg per day
  • Adult Men: Between 400 and 420 mg per day

Your body doesn't create magnesium naturally but needs it to optimize many processes. This is why eating magnesium-rich foods and taking supplements to ensure you have healthy magnesium levels is crucial.

Magnesium naturally occurs in foods like brown rice, green leafy vegetables, cashew nuts, and almonds.

How to Take Magnesium Glycinate

It's recommended that you take magnesium along with vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 helps to boost the absorption of magnesium in your system.

What Happens When You Take Magnesium in Excess?

Like with many supplements taking magnesium in excess can lead to medical complications. This is why it's recommended you consult with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.

Taking too much magnesium could result in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, cramping, and diarrhea. 

How Long Does Magnesium Stay in Your Body?

The kidneys usually excrete magnesium via your urine. Through urine tests, doctors can determine how much magnesium has been absorbed into your body after a period of 24 hours.

A Word From Verywell 

It's crucial to ensure your body gets all the magnesium it needs for optimal functioning through your diet and sometimes through supplements. It's recommended to consult your doctor before you begin taking magnesium glycinate. Do not give children magnesium to children before talking with a doctor.

11 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 84645, Magnesium glycinate.

  2. Cleveland Clinic. Does Magnesium Help You Sleep?

  3. National Institutes of Health. Magnesium.

  4. Harvard School of Public Health. Magnesium.

  5. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012;17(12):1161-1169.

  6. Boyle N, Lawton C, Dye L. The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety and stress—a systematic review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429.

  7. Marshall NS, Serinel Y, Killick R, et al. Magnesium supplementation for the treatment of restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder: A systematic review. Sleep Med Rev. 2019;48:101218.

  8. Wienecke E, Nolden C. Long-term HRV analysis shows stress reduction through magnesium intake. Fortschritte der Medizin. 2016;158(S6):12-16.

  9. Mount Sinai Health System. Magnesium Information.

  10. Jahnen-Dechent W, Ketteler M. Magnesium basicsClin Kidney J. 2012;5(Suppl 1):i3-i14. doi:10.1093/ndtplus/sfr163

  11. Joosten MM, Gansevoort RT, Mukamal KJ, et al. Urinary magnesium excretion and risk of hypertension: the prevention of renal and vascular end-stage disease studyHypertension. 2013;61(6):1161-1167. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.01333

By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.