On this last point, it’s entirely possible that you’re familiar with melatonin. But you may have heard that magnesium can also improve sleep. To better understand how they differ in terms of improvement, and to discover must-have tips and resources on intake, we turned to behavioral sleep expert Carleara Weiss, PhD, MS, RN. I consulted.
A Comparison of Melatonin and Magnesium on Sleep and Circadian Rhythm
To kick things off, Dr. Weiss outlines the basics of both sleep aids to help. “Its main function is to regulate circadian rhythms and sleep. (She also notes that melatonin has a variety of additional functions, including cytoprotection, neuroprotection, and effects on the reproductive system.)
Next is magnesium, a micronutrient that 50-75% of Americans are deficient in. Dr. Weiss says its effects on sleep and circadian rhythms are not yet fully understood, but “it is thought that it plays an important role in regulating the central nervous system, reducing stress and improving sleep. In other words, it doesn’t promote sleep latency in the same way melatonin does, but the more calm and restful it is, the more likely it is to promote quality sleep and reduce restless nights. She adds that magnesium can help people who suffer from restless leg syndrome, which can lead to sleep disturbances. It emphasizes how important it is to prioritize minerals regardless of whether you’re sexually active and your sleep game is solid.)
Important Tips and References on Using Melatonin and Magnesium for Better Sleep
If you have a history of insomnia, Dr. Weiss recommends melatonin or Magnesium becomes the gold standard of treatment. “The ideal treatment for insomnia is cognitive-behavioral therapy,” she says. (Read: If your sleep problems are chronic rather than touch-and-go, your best bet is to consult a sleep expert to get to the root of the problem.) “For shift work disorder, jet lag, and circadian rhythm disturbances,” Dr. Weiss continues.
But Dr. Weiss says new studies testing the effects of melatonin and magnesium in people with insomnia are starting to show promising results. and can be taken together,” she says.
“The ideal dose of melatonin is 0.3 to 5 milligrams taken 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime,” says Dr. Weiss. However, dosages can vary greatly from those available over-the-counter, so be sure to read labels carefully and slowly scale up if needed. is 200 milligrams 30 minutes before bed. [though] Some researchers postulate that a safe dose of magnesium is in the range of 200 to 400 milligrams,” continues the sleep expert.
With these suggestions in mind, Dr. Weiss still suggests opting for other sleep solutions before starting a new supplement routine. It’s best to talk to your doctor or health care professional before doing so, Weiss advises.
In addition to sticking to a balanced, nutritious diet, you can also incorporate more food and drink throughout the day, including these sleep aids. We share a list of foods you may want to pin for your grocery haul.
melatonin: Banana, Pineapple, Corn, Almond, Spinach, Kiwi, Tart Cherry, Turkey, Walnut
magnesium: cashew nuts, almonds, soybeans, baked beans, whole grains, quinoa, green soybeans, spinach