In addition to being essential for energy production, magnesium also plays a role in sleep in a few key ways.
For starters, magnesium stimulates the activity of GABA receptors, which help the brain calm down from periods of excitement and return to homeostasis.* So after a long day, consuming magnesium can help you slip into “rest and recover” mode more easily.* The mineral also seems to help regulate our sleep-wake cycle, with research showing that the regularity of our internal clocks is influenced by our magnesium status.*
“The relaxing and calming effects of magnesium definitely help with sleep, and also help with mood,”* Ella Soderholm R.N., MNT, a registered nurse and master nutrition therapist, tells mbg.
Indeed, initial research confirms that people with higher magnesium levels (thanks to supplementation) tend to have less of the stress hormone cortisol.* And in one 2011 clinical trial, those who took a nightly supplement of magnesium, melatonin, and zinc found it easier to fall asleep and wake up energized.*
Beyond just making us calm and sleepy, magnesium has also been shown to improve overall sleep quality and increase the amount of time we spend in slow-wave sleep, which is important for memory consolidation and muscle repair.*
All this to say, magnesium-rich foods and supplements can help us relax and feel pleasantly sleepy.* And when paired with a solid bedtime routine, they may even promote deeper, more efficient rest.