Magnesium Deficiency and Insomnia

For years I’ve had trouble sleeping, going to bed between 10 and 11 and waking between 1 and 2, unable to get back to sleep.  Two years ago, I went to the sleep clinic at the University of Washington after two months of only an hour or two of sleep each night. The doctor recommended a sleep study; I suggested bloodwork to check for deficiencies or abnormal hormone levels.  The doctor agreed to a thyroid test but it came back normal, no other bloodwork was done.

Lately I’ve found that when I take a magnesium supplement, I sleep well.  The following article discusses a variety of nutritional deficiencies that can cause insomnia:

November 2008 Update:  Earlier this week, I began acupuncture treatments for insomnia.  While it’s only been three nights since treatment began, I have noticed that I am sleeping longer and that when I am awake, I’m not WIDE AWAKE.  I’ll report again as treatments progress.

May 2016 Update:  I’ve noticed that I never competed the story of my acupuncture treatment for insomnia.  I had four treatments and with each treatment my sleep improved:  after the second treatment I was sleeping four hours per night, after the third I slept six hours per night and after the final treatment I was able to get a full eight hours of sleep.  I went into acupuncture as a open-minded skeptic but soon became a truly amazed believer.  I am now having good results for irritable bowel after just one treatment and I recommend acupuncture as a safe and effective for many conditions when you may want to avoid the more harmful affects of prescription medication.


13 thoughts on “Magnesium Deficiency and Insomnia

  1. I recently read something suggesting that insomnia and cancers involving the immune system may somehow be linked, and the more people with lymphoma that I meet, the more I think it may somehow be true. I have terrible insomnia even now. Strange to think.

  2. Carrie,

    Two months ago I went on magnesium supplements. After decades of sleep deprivation and 5 years of Ambien taken twice at night I am sleeping like a baby. Went off both Ambien and Xanax cold turkey. A bonus – my hyper acusis cured. All within two weeks of starting the supplement.

    Also have had both breast and ovarian cancer in the last 4 years despite no risk factors and and extremely healthy life style. Saw that low magnesium signficantly increases risks of all cancer, especially breast cancer.

    I’m a believer and this is the first time I feel safe in a long time.

  3. February 12 2010 Update:

    I recently discovered that I have a gluten intolerance. Once I removed gluten from my diet, several symptoms improved, including insomnia. I had only been sleeping 1 – 3 hours per night but when I experimented with removing gluten from my diet, my sleep dramatically improved.

  4. Thank you Carrie. May I ask why in the morning and not before going to bed?

    Is it because it gets you to be more alert then?

    Ive tried magnesium for 2 nights before bed (with calcium) but it didnt help at all, after 2 hours I was wake and stayed awake………..)

    thanx again

  5. I simply take magenesium in the morning because that’s when I take my vitamins (I work a late afternoon/evening shift so this works best for me). I think magnesium is just one piece to the insomnia puzzle and I don’t mean to suggest that Mg alone will give you a good night’s sleep. A deficiency, however, could be contributing to your inability to sleep. I DID have excellent success when I tried acupuncture for insomnia and was nearly sleeping through the night after just four sessions. I also think that regular meditation practice is beneficial to good sleep.

  6. Remember to use vitamin D3 in combination with magnesium for best efficacy. D3 speeds the absorbtion of magnesium, calcium, boron and a few other minor minerals by the intestinal wall. Look up the vitamin D council’s website for more information on conditions it helps treat and prevent, as well as look for ‘magnesium Update’, a page by a clinical nutritionalist for more detailed info on the issues related to magnesium deficiency, the dosages reccommended, and what types have the least side effects. Magnesium citrate is reported to have the least side-effects.

    For older folk, it may be necessary to take both Vitamin D3, Ubiquitol/CoQ10 and mangesium together. The chain of effect is: CoQ10/Ubiquitol (Ubiquitol is the preferred, active form) gets the gut to effectively absorb vitamins C, D and E, Vitamin D at the proper levels (See vitamin D council’s page) gets the gut to absorb calcium and magnesium, and magnesium is a major factor in allowing cells in the body (such as neurons!) to absorb nutrients and muscles to relax.

    .. The brain is, at it’s basics, a muscle!

    • Vitamin d kan solve insomnia so I read, but the most say you have to take the D3 in the morning, because for some people it can CAUSE insomnia when taken at night. Magnesium I take at bedtime but doesnt seem to work anymore, maybe I need to add calcium?
      D3 Im now taken for 2 weeks (6000IU)in the morning but doesn’t improve my sleep (yet)

  7. Interesting post and comments. @ Jeanette the brain most certainly is not a muscle though, it is nervous tissue. Magnesium plays an active role in over 300 metabolic processes two of which are in instigating the return slide (relaxation) of muscle filaments and in facilitating healthy nervous conduction/function. Perhaps one of the reasons meditation helps is that it also calms the nervous system.

    True on the D3/CoQ10 facilitation pathways (provided the gut is actually absorbing and not leaky). A leaky gut may be why some people do not find that orally ingested magnesium works so well for them. Yes Epsom salts in a bath are great especially as they bypass the gut and are absorbed straight into the tissues. Magnesium tends to work best when taken before bed. Happy sleep everyone! Shel

  8. After decades of disabling insomnia I was on my way to recovery when I started to take 5 per cent Lugol’s solution (potassium iodide).

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