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The Best Time To Take A Magnesium Supplement For Better Sleep*

Emma Loewe
Author: Medical reviewer:
Updated on November 18, 2021
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Marvin Singh, M.D.
Medical review by
Marvin Singh, M.D.
Integrative Gastroenterologist
Marvin Singh, M.D. is an integrative gastroenterologist in San Diego, California. He is trained and board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology/hepatology.
Last updated on November 18, 2021

Magnesium is a powerful mineral that supports bone health, nerve function, and digestion.* Early research has also found that it can help bring people closer to those ever-elusive 7-9 hours of sleep a night, making it a valuable supplement to take before bed. But is there a best time of night to take it? Here's what to know.*

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How does magnesium help you sleep?

The main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the body, GABA blocks certain signals in the central nervous system to help calm neural "excitement" that can keep you up at night. While the way magnesium affects sleep behaviors is not fully understood1, it has the ability to bind to and activate GABA receptors and elicit the same calming neural effect2.* It also may increase your body's natural melatonin levels3.

In one small (but double-blind and placebo-controlled) trial4, magnesium helped older people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer compared to a placebo.* Preliminary research has also found that the mineral might be helpful in easing the everyday stress5 that keeps many of us up at night.*

Anecdotally, those who have tried mbg's sleep support+ supplement, which combines magnesium bisglycinate with other sleep supporters like jujube and PharmaGABA®, note that it is beneficial for both sleep duration and quality.*

Integrative medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D., says that it's her go-to whenever she needs a deep, restful night of sleep while nutritionist Dana James, M.S. CNS, CDN, says it's the best supplement she's ever used for sleep.*

mbg's sleep formula comes in vegetarian capsules that can be easily taken at any time, which raises the question, what time should you be taking them? According to Robert Rountree, M.D., a physician who specializes in nutritional and herbal pharmacology and helped formulate the blend, the answer depends on your sleep patterns and what you're hoping to get out of the supplement.

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The two time windows for taking sleep support+ for sleep.

If falling asleep is your issue, Rountree recommends taking sleep support+ approximately one hour before bed. Due to individual differences, we believe one to two hours is a good before-bedtime window. This should give the mineral and its supporting players enough time to latch onto the brain's gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors6, which cue the rest of the body to start to relax.*

If staying asleep is a problem for you, you'll want to take magnesium later in the evening. "For those who fall asleep OK but awaken during the night, I recommend taking the magnesium immediately before getting into bed," Rountree says. This will help it promote a steadier state of relaxation7 after you've already fallen asleep and cut down on tossing and turning.*

Frequently Asked Questions

How much magnesium should I take per day?

Most people find 120mg per day of supplemental magnesium to be the most beneficial to sleep without causing grogginess. Before taking any new supplement, it’s best to consult your doctor first.

What type of magnesium is best for sleep?

Magnesium glycinate is one of the most popular forms thanks to its bioavailability and the added restorative properties of glycine. Read more about what type might work best for you here.

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The takeaway.

While magnesium supplements can't undo bad habits like drinking too much coffee or looking at screens late at night, research shows that when taken within 1-2 hours of bed, they may help people fall asleep at the desired time and stay asleep without waking up.*

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.