Can someone explain to me why magnesium negatively impacts sleep for some people (if taken too close to bedtime)? I know most people sleep better when taking magnesium close to bed, but there are some of us (me, included) for whom the opposite occurs.
asked bypaleohacks (78467)
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on April 20, 2011
at 10:23 PM
One possibility: magnesium may not cause sleep problems.
For example, it could be that some individuals with sleep issues may be especially interested in alleged sleep aids such as "Natural Calm" in the first place. And one may be more tempted to take it when they feel they need it in order to sleep better. In other words, some people may be taking magnesium because they can't sleep...not the other way around.
Also, taking magnesium before bed could simply heighten awareness of whether you are sleeping well or not, and selective memory has the result of remembering the correlation.
Again, correlation does not necessarily equal causation. It may be the case that magnesium "negatively impacts sleep" but first let's rule out the other more boring possibilities.
on April 21, 2011
at 02:28 PM
My suggestion is that magnesium might cause digestive upset or dehydration and thereby interfere with sleep. Magnesium sucks water into the digestive tract and I always find that I need to drink a lot of water if I've taken magnesium. This, or not drinking enough water with it (particularly if you fall asleep beforehand) might plausibly disturb sleep. Nothing impairs my sleep like not having enough water.
on April 21, 2011
at 02:15 AM
For what it's worth, my ability to sleep soundly seems dose-dependent with magnesium. If I take two rounded teaspoons of Natural Calm (as the bottle suggests), I often have trouble falling asleep and then have extremely vivid dreams which keep waking me up. One rounded teaspoon and I sleep soundly through the night. I also have to keep an eye on how much magnesium I'm eating in my diet--a whole bag of spinach plus Natural Calm is like taking dream LSD.
on April 20, 2011
at 10:51 PM
Another possibility: (Am I allowed to make two answers to the same question??)
If magnesium did have a causal negative impact it could be due to your individual neurotransmitter regulation. Magnesium is NMDA antagonist and GABA agonist, and both neurotransmitters are important for the modulation of sleep. Just as some people respond quite differently to caffeine, I imagine one could respond differently to magnesium.
on August 01, 2011
at 05:49 PM
I guess I don't have an answer, but I have the exact same question.
I have been geeking out on FitDay.com and put all of my foods in it for a couple of weeks. Something I notice is that I'm at about the 35% RDA for magnesium and manganese. So the night before last I took a 200mg magnesium citrate supplement about an hour before bed, and got the best night's sleep I've had in weeks.
I did the same thing last night, and it was the exact opposite -- I had a terrible time falling asleep, and had terrible "restless legs" until about 2am, until finally getting a few hours of sleep. I am never that restless at night, so attribute it to the supplement.
I guess the obvious conclusion is that I overdosed on the supplement -- maybe I need only 200mg per week, and having that twice on two subsequent nights was too much. It could also be that having that much magnesium all at once is too fast, that the nutrients are better absorbed throughout the day as food.
on March 06, 2013
at 05:41 AM
I thought I was crazy thinking that Mg was making me not sleep. I thought maybe it is because I just started a new medication, but, I thought this is strange because I have been on this medication in the past and had no issues. Then I thought maybe it is just all the stress I currently have. Then after about 3 weeks now I tried to pinpoint the timing of when me sleep started getting crazy. By crazy I mean feeling super tired and then I go to bed and my mind won't stop. Once I get to sleep I never make it into deep sleep and then wake up about every hour as if I am on some type of major stimulant. So during this time period of taking Magnesium I also started Straterra (which I had been on in the past), biotin, and krill oil. I ended up reading krill oil can disrupt sleep so I stopped taking it, but, the problem still was not solved. I then thought, I use to take krill oil in the past and had no sleep issues. Then I found this site, thank God and I have narrowed it down to the damn Magnesium which was supposed to relax my muscles, help my sleep, anxiety/depression and all it has been doing is make me feel like a crack head. I was prescribed 400mg of Magnesium Asporate, I am 5'7 and 159 lbs, maybe it is too much? I am going to have to ask my doctor about this. My muscles are way more stiff tonight, after not taking it, but, I am hoping I will actually "sleep". Any one with the same issue please let me know if you have found a way to take magnesium and still sleep
on March 04, 2013
at 06:42 AM
I am not ALONE ! This atricle makes me happy. On night I find myself passing it out hardcore I chug some magnesium as directed and lay down start to fall asleep and WHAM! I am up wide awake. The other night I was up for a solid 40 + hours felt like I was F&^%in on LSD. I am a person who doesn't enhoy taking any kind of drug to help me sleep but I had to the other night and probably tonight. Thank you all for sharing your story, you made me feel like I wasn't nutty.
on January 18, 2013
at 01:36 AM
I've been taking different types of magnesium for 8 years without any problems except for diarrhea if I take too much. Magnesium oxide, chloride, malate, citrate, glycinate. Recently I switched to powdered magnesium oxide in capsules which works better than any other magnesiums for my deficiency symptoms. Once I upped my dose to 800mg it made my heart race, feel anxious, fatigued, depressed, gave me constipation, tense muscles, frequent urination. This feels identical to a calcium overdose which I experienced before with calcium and vitamin D supplements. Even though I've been off magnesium for one week, I'm still not able to take more than 50mg without the adverse side effects coming back. I wonder how long it stays in the body.
From what I read, excess magnesium will lower the level of calcium and may lead to a calcium deficiency with some symptoms similar to calcium excess. Deficiency of calcium leads to insomnia, anxiety, palpitations, weak immune system, fatigue, low blood pressure, difficulty swallowing. You can try taking calcium and see if it solves your magnesium insomnia. For me it made me calm at first then it exacerbated the symptoms. The magnesium-calcium balance is very delicate and can offset the balance of electrolytes. Magnesium affects potassium levels too.
on March 03, 2012
at 12:52 AM
Just found this board after experiencing the same issue. Natural Calm causes me to have a wild, crazy, semi-asleep, semi-awake all night long extreme dreamy state. It's nothing at all like a slight shift in circadian rhythm, dehydration, anxiety per se, but a full-on and bizarre effect. Strangely enough, I don't feel nearly as exhausted the next day as I would expect, but I definitely don't have a good night's sleep. I'm taking about a teaspon, and will give it another chance at about a quarter teaspoon well before bedtime.
on June 16, 2013
at 11:13 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments. I began taking a malic acid and magnesium supplement a week ago and the first night I had the best sleep I've had for years. I have fibromyalgia so sleep is a major issue for me. I slept better than usual for 3 or 4 nights and felt like a different person. I'm sure I entered the deeper levels of sleep which I don't ususally do. During the day I felt calm and happy and amazing, like I haven't felt for years. Nothing stressed me! Then the last few nights my sleep has been appalling and I have been asking myself why has it stopped working? And it is so hard to have lost that wonderful feeling of being my old self again. So tonight I won't take the supplement and see what happens. It's good to know I'm not alone in how I'm reacting.
on January 04, 2013
at 07:07 AM
I stumbled upon this page after my third sleepless night in a row and after realizing...duh, this is the 3rd night I've taken a magnesium supplement before bed! Ugh. I usually don't have a problem falling asleep, rarely am I experiencing sleeplessness...so, it's too much of a coincidence. Has to be the magnesium.
on October 15, 2012
at 01:48 AM
I guess it's my turn.
I am glad to have stumbled upon this page, and the thoughts of those above - thanks much, I am not alone!
I sit here completely exhausted, around 6:30 pm . . . having spent last night 'bolt horizontal' in bed, unable to fall asleep. YES, I had rubbed a clever home mix of Magnesium Oil w/lotion (w/some coconut oil and a little organic lotion).
I proceeded to rub this concoction over perhaps 1/3 the surface area of my skin, come to think of it, which included rubbing into sub-opciptial (base of skull) and back of neck area (sensitive skin - also hit some of ear skin in advertently), and rubbed thoroughly into shoulders and upper arms, upper back, and all of thighs, calves, and buttocks (someone had said that was a good spot in general, as tougher skin - so why I rubbed on more sensitive skin near/on head is beyond me).
OK, I had tried similar oil mixtures in the past, but never so thoroughly, and never just as I put on my pajamas.
'Going to sleep' I felt my brain was on alert, enough so that my mind would wander from one interesting topic to another. Two hours after lying down I reached for some sleeping aids - which worked just enuf for me to at least think I slept. But I was tired upon waking, and my day was fried due to lack of sleep.
With all the time I had available 'falling asleep' I am surprised it took me about 2 hours to realize it had to be: the magnesium rub - and from there I was alert enough to surmise it would be FOREVER until it maxed out in my blood stream, it was probably just getting started.
I wonder what the half life is in my blood stream even now?
I think I'll go look it up. But let's just say I pray to my pillow that it's well past its peak.
We must be cautious with these sorts of magic bullets. Mag Oil should not be rubbed on a body before bed (or maybe after the noon hour, I'm going to check), unless one likes staring at ceilings a heck of a lot.
on June 29, 2012
at 02:02 AM
"6. Fighting Fatigue With Insomnia Herbs If you feel worn down or are lacking energy due to improper sleep, a hectic schedule or day-to-day stressors, learn how to fight fatigue naturally with insomnia herbs. Taking a few minutes for yourself and doing simple breathing exercises can be helpful, as can daily moderate exercise and getting adequate rest. Certain nutrients, botanicals and other compounds can also help to ward off or lessen the effects of general fatigue. Experiment with the following insomnia herbs and natural remedies for insomnia: Magnesium and calcium. Oral magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve symptoms of fatigue in persons with low magnesium levels"
If people are using magnesium to solve fatigue, seeing as how magnesium increases the bodies ability to use proteins as energy, this could be a very likely reason for you to stay awake.
"Magnesium: The crucial health benefits of magnesium include solving or preventing osteoporosis, heart attacks, hypertenstion, constipation, migraines, leg cramps, kidney stones, gallstones and more. Magnesium is an essential part of the alternative health approaches of alternative medicine. It also is effective to help with inability to have a BM during the low calorie phase. Formula to calculate magnesium daily requirement: 2.5-4.5 mgs per day per pound of ideal body weight. Calculation not to be used for children, children are calculated differently. IMPORTANT: If you have any kidney disease or kidney issues, do not supplement with magnesium. It can cause more problems, can cause kidney shut down, and be life threatening. Be very aware_ that if you supplement with magnesium and are taking any prescription meds, i.e., thyroid, insulin, blood pressure meds, anti-depressants, statins, and other meds, magnesium supplements can alter how these drugs work in your body. You need to keep a close eye on yourself and talk to your doctor in case you need to reduce or stop any meds. Also, don't take it too close to bedtime. It can keep you awake. You can use magnesium for help with constipation during the low calorie phase. It is also good for other phases and general use when not dieting. It can be very helpful for muscle cramping and pain during menstrual cycles and excessive exercise."
^ and again, it's mentioned elsewhere. Many places I've been reading about it have said, (and I am most certainly paraphrasing) "(it)'s a known muscle relaxant." However, this says nothing about perhaps how much your brain metabolism is working, until I found...
"Proper brain function depends on a constant supply of biochemical energy. When magnesium is chronically deficient or depleted, then brain metabolism and power suffer.
Several factors contribute to the lack of magnesium in our diet.
To begin with, a big part of American diets (fats, meats, dairy products) are low in magnesium. This mineral is often depleted in our soils. Processing or cooking further reduce its levels in food, and not all of the magnesium we do consume is absorbed."
When something has that much power over how we function, surely taking it in high doses would increase capabilities within said functions."
I took magnesium around 4:00 p.m last night and it kept me awake until roughly 2:00 a.m. with a necessity to wake up at 4:30 a.m. Searching lead me here, more searching gave me many sites saying to take it to wake up AND to sleep, but it depends on what part of your body is having the problem. Really, per individual, it's all different :) that's all that can be said!
-A person who likes to believe not every question can be answered simply, which sucks in a world of instant gratification.
Post-Sciptum; Apologies are due for my lack-luster vocabulary this evening. Two and a half hours of sleep proceeded by a twelve hour work day have made me particularly inept.
on June 17, 2012
at 10:34 AM
I would like to put my 2 cents in and let y'all know that I definitely think it causes sleep problems. I took it around 9 tonight because I heard it helps with muscle cramps that I was having. This is the first time I have ever in my life taken it. I usually sleep very well and you would think I would have slept even better after a very early start to my day and it was filled with playing basketball till about 6pm. Like I said, I took it at 9pm tonight and it is now 5:31am and I am still awake. I've been laying here wondering why I can't sleep and then I remember that I took the magnesium supplement. So I looked some Stuff up about it on the Internet and found that it has caused sleeping problems for others too. I have games tomorrow and I will definitely not Be taking it again after them even if I have more cramps. Might take it in the morning. I'll need it if it really does make you more alert.
on April 19, 2012
at 03:17 PM
I also have those problems, when taking magnesium, waking up after about 2 hours, and can not go back to sleep, I also tried many kinds, but lately I try 2 kinds, witch doesn???t batter me, those are: 1 from the company 'NOW', the product name is: Magnesium & Potassium Asparate, and the other one is from the company Nutri Supreme, the product is: Natures Calm (the last one is kosher), but after taking few weeks, I start to get diarrhea, (the same happens by both), than I try another idea, in both of the above, they put in also some kind of amino acid, the company ???NOW' puts in 'Taurine', so eggs, fish and meat also have bigger amounts of Taurine, so, I'm taking any kind of magnesium together with some of the above protein, and guess what: nothing happens, and I sleep vary well. I hope this information well be useful for some of you. best wishes.
on November 23, 2011
at 01:26 PM
When I first started taking magnesium citrate I got very good results but after a while I started getting the paradoxical reaction described above. I tried taking a balanced multimineral supplement which (among other things) contains both magnesium and calcium. This was calming and sleep-inducing. As I eat very little dairy, I might have needed a bit of calcium to balance the magnesium.
on August 01, 2011
at 05:31 PM
i have tried every kind of magnesium i can find and it ALL keeps me awake. i need it for sure but i can't tolerate it. it drives me around the bend (especially after 3 nights of no sleep). the only possible thing in this discussion is not enough water but i drink a lot of water. how much would be enough?
on July 29, 2011
at 03:24 AM
I've had a paradoxical effect with magnesium as well. I took magnesium glycinate (at the recommended dose) on one evening and it had the side effect that, although, it made me sleepy, it also raised my anxiety. It also gave me the shudders, which is one of the things that it's supposed to prevent or treat. I spent several hours shaking like I had the chills, but, I wasn't cold. On another evening, I used a small amount of magnesium gel and had the same reaction, I developed the shudders. As soon as the shudders started I went and washed off the gel. Very weird.... So, yes, I think it can have different effects on different people. I'm very sensitive to meds and supplements. So, no magnesium supplements for me. I'll have to get my magnesium the old fashioned way, from my food. :)
on April 21, 2011
at 06:01 PM
to bypass digestive issues, have you tried transdermal magnesium oil? no matter how wide awake i am, a few sprays and that's the last thing i remember. but it can sting if you're not used to it.
on April 20, 2011
at 10:54 PM
Natural Calm magnesium has changed it's dosage down...I don't know when they did it... they may have changed the ingredients too, I'm not sure. But it now takes nearly double the dose to get the 'same' effect as prior dosage. It seems like they may be wanting to prevent people from having loose bowels after taking a rounded teaspoon....I think it takes 3 rounded teaspoons to get the same dosage compared to one with the original formula.
I've also occasionally not been able to fall asleep after taking Natural Calm before bed. I have had the same thing happen after taking mag glycinate before bed too. Odd though that other times taking mag seems to aid sleep. Maybe it has something to do with whether or not we are low on mag or not.(?)
on January 06, 2017
at 11:10 AM
I am not on medication and I have a normal sleep hours. Reading the comments here I decided to fub magnesium oil on my feet and see if I can sllep even better. The opposit has occurred. Now I am 5 hours beyond m sleep time and I am wide awake. Maybe I should be doing that in the morning. I have also noticed in the past that soaking my feet in epsom salt can cause muscle cramps or intensify the present ones and in fact I have muscle aches right now. Yes, everyone is unique and we have to experiment in order to find what work for each of us. Thanks for sharing. It helps to know I am not alone.
on December 19, 2016
at 07:11 PM
Simply due to the fact that one would need to consume over 20 lbs daily of any dark leafy green to get enough magnesium in their diet. Our veggies aren't what they used to be. Solid are depleted, plants get nutrients if the soil doesn't have them.
I use a TRS whole food magnesium from Mega Life. 1000 mg in the morning, then chelated mag at night-400 mg. NO bathroom issues, no lack of sleep, no muscle cramps. Magnesium is water soluble. What the body doesn't need, it releases through urination. You'll know if it's too much at one time...you'll be running to the restroom fast. Also, magnet citrate is known for its laxative reaction. Most of us have a severe magnesium deficiency. If you're not sleeping, keep track of everything as it's probably not magnesium. Too much calcium will cause cramps and jitters...it restricts blood vessels. Magnesium is a natural vast-dilator, muscle relaxer too. That's why it's suggested that taking a bath in Epsom salts before bed is a great idea! Read "The Magnesium Miracle". Smartest thing I ever did!
on May 07, 2014
at 03:53 PM
I actually take my 2 gr of mag hexahydrate and mag carbonate just before bed partly for the purpose of having vivd dreams and improving sleep quality in general, the only issue I am having however is my vivid dreams often are "negative" or dramatic and for whatever reason under the influence of magnesium I recall often being an aggressive character in my dreams, maybe it has something to do with the effects of magnesium raising testosterone levels as according to this one study it does elevate testosterone levels.
However I also believe that magnesium induced dreams may be a useful tool for personal development, maybe these dreams are just a reflection of our subconscious mind's regular thoughts, afterall it is generally common knowledge among psychiatrists that all people have plenty of negative thoughts regularly and I agree with that, maybe it can help us become more conscious of how these thoughts are damaging us so we can do something about it and live happier lives.
on May 06, 2014
at 06:42 PM
For everyone who can't do the Natural Calm, try a magnesium oil. You rub it on your skin and it is absorbed transdermal. So far I've found 2 companies that makes it. Dr. Sircus Ancient Minerals and Dr. Barbara Hendel's Magnesium Oil From the Ancient Zechstein Sea on Amazon. Dr. Sircus web-site is very educational about the magnesium deficiency issues. I hope this helps! (Just google those two)
on March 12, 2014
at 03:53 AM
Hmm. Magnesium doesn't really help or hurt my ability to go to or stay asleep, but it gives me some horrific nightmares, so I avoid taking at night.
on March 12, 2014
at 01:53 AM
I have fibromyalgia and ulcerative colitis, both affected by severe inflammation, so i started magnesium to bring it down. But I am switching it to mornings, because I cannot sleep anymore! And that is on top of the Elavil I take to sleep soundly because of the fibromyslgia! It normally helps do much, but not with the magnesium!! Will I be sleepy if I take it every morning?
on February 16, 2014
at 12:36 AM
It seems to be that, well mabe just maybe regarding the sleep medecines and relaxers; even benzo's, they feel relaxed at first, but as the body gets use to the calming drug sometimes it can cause a paradoxal effect; and in result your calmer without it...
on August 30, 2013
at 01:52 PM
Glad I found this. I have similar issues with Mg. First night or 2 on mag oxide 400mg I slept very well and the Mg also solved my excess acid problems. I stuck with it and also tried Mag Citrate 100mg before bed but after a few days I became wired and could not sleep. I also woke up with very bad calf pain. Normally I get a dull ache in my legs if I don't sleep well.
If I take Mg citrate in the morning I get wired feel like I have the Testosterone of a teen racing through my body. Not exactly calming.
I found mag citrate makes me wired and mag oxide seems to shorten / alter my sleep cycle. I am going to lay off it for sometime to try and let my body sort the mg/calcium/potassium balance back
on August 11, 2013
at 12:03 AM
I am amazed that a thread like this is allowed on paleohacks. Magnesium pills are about as paleo as corn oil. What's wrong with a daily consumption of collards?
on August 10, 2013
at 07:06 PM
Supplementing magnesium when calcium is high but bio-unavailable can cause the calcium to be released into the bloodstream, leading to high calcium symptoms. Balancing it out can be tricky, but not impossible. Take a day or two off supplements each week to give it time and see how you're feeling.
I had some MAJORLY tense muscles recently after over-supplementing MG in an abundance of "this is the answer to my problems" enthusiasm. Once I began supplementing calcium again after a few weeks of Mg, the muscles relaxed.
on June 05, 2013
at 12:45 AM
This happened to me when I was using a lot of magnesium oil. Found out it was because large amounts of magnesium can deplete B6. Had the same issue with ReMag. Now I'm taking much more magnesium, but supplementing with P5P (the bioactive form of B6) - no problems. This is not an issue if you're already well stocked on B6; I probably was/am working form a deficiency.
on May 11, 2013
at 12:18 PM
I think there's something strange about how so many paleo people are using a lot of magnesium. I mean it's good to eat a lot of c-vitamin, but you don't need much to prevent scurvy. So it's strange that, if this diet is right, so many people needs to supplement to avoid magnesium deficiency symptoms. I believe that grains ++ is bad for a lot of people, but still..
on April 07, 2013
at 07:54 PM
Magnesium is a part of the ATP cycle and required for proper glucose utilization....so if you are deficient you could be waking your system up by taking it at times...this would explain why some nights it works and others it does not...I have had this experience myself.....to many people have experienced it for it to be anecdotal.....
on January 07, 2013
at 01:57 AM
I am so glad i got to read about all this, i have also been having sleeping problems lately and just this morning i desided to chech which one of the supplements im taking causes that and now realises its magnesium.I do agree to those who say it does not need to be used before sleeping hours or even in the noon hours.Will also make sure tto take lots of wate. with it.Thannks for sharing your stories,it really helps.