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3 Things To Look For In A Sleep-Supporting Magnesium Supplement

Last updated on November 18, 2020

You've probably heard of people supplementing with magnesium for immunity or bone health (or maybe tried it yourself) but the essential mineral has dozens more potential applications—including in the sleep space.

Though more human trials still need to be conducted to see exactly how magnesium affects sleep, early research is promising and anecdotal evidence abounds that the mineral supports deeper, more restorative rest when added to a healthy bedtime routine.* If you're curious to try it out yourself (and your doctor is on board), here are three things to look into when choosing a sleep-supporting magnesium supplement:

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The type.

Many types of magnesium are commonly found in supplement form—each with a different intended purpose and use case. If sleep is what you're after, you'll want to find a product that uses magnesium glycinate—a combination of magnesium and the amino acid glycine, which can help promote sleep by lowering body temperature1.* When taken in tandem, magnesium and glycinate seem to help ease insomnia, lengthen sleep time2, and regulate the body's internal clock according to preliminary research.*

And while some forms of magnesium are associated with unpleasant side effects like diarrhea, magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable and "has higher bioavailability and is gentle on your stomach, unlike other forms of magnesium," Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., an integrative medicine practitioner, previously told mbg.* The addition of glycine makes it less likely to lead to any digestive discomfort.*

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The dose.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that adults take no more than 350 milligrams of supplemental magnesium per day3, in addition to the magnesium that we get from nutrient-dense foods. Staying below this 350-milligram cap can also help avoid any side effects.

mindbodygreen's sleep support+ has 120 milligrams of magnesium glycinate per serving, which we believe is the sweet spot for a pre-sleep supplement.* After conducting four rounds of testing, this amount was found to hit a sweet spot of promoting rest at night without leaving behind any lingering grogginess the next morning.


The ingredients and fillers.

As is the case with food, the fewer additives in a supplement, the better, usually. Check the label to see what kind of binders, fillers, or preservatives the product has, steering clear of potentially harmful adds. While powdered, flavored supplements are the ones that tend to have more wonky ingredients, capsules and tinctures can too. If you see an ingredient on there you're not familiar with, do a quick search online to see its purpose and any potential health risks.

When considering a new supplement, it's also a good idea to look for ones that have gone through multiple rounds of testing and come from a facility that is third-party certified for its quality and testing standards.

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.