Between the two, a melatonin supplement may help you sleep better at night than magnesium, according to Shelby Harris, licensed clinical psychologist and director of Sleep Health. Sleepopolis.
“Magnesium supplements may help induce sleep, but the reality is that it hasn’t been routinely proven in research to know for sure,” Harris tells CNBC Make It.
“When taken properly, melatonin is a very common natural sleep aid that helps to slowly alter the body’s blood circulation.”
Don’t miss it. Don’t waste money on magnesium supplements, says a sleep expert: Eat these foods for natural doses and better rest
But experts, including Harris, agree that it’s best to get melatonin and magnesium from supplements. You shouldn’t take any new supplements without first talking to your doctor, Harris notes, because they aren’t closely regulated in the United States.
And “If someone has chronic sleep problems, it’s best to talk to a doctor for proper evaluation and treatment. Melatonin is not effective in treating most sleep disorders.”
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain in response to darkness National Institutes of Health. Your body’s circadian rhythms, also known as your internal clock It stimulates your body when it’s time to sleep, says the NIH.
Melatonin “can be used to help with delayed sleep phase disorder, jet lag syndrome, work-sleep disorder, and sometimes insomnia,” Harris says.
But taking too much melatonin has its drawbacks, she says. “Taking melatonin for sleep, especially if you take too much, can cause negative side effects such as hallucinations, lucid dreaming, headaches and dizziness.”
There is insufficient evidence to support magnesium supplements for sleep
If you’re deficient in magnesium or don’t get enough of the mineral in your diet, magnesium supplements can help you fall asleep, Harris told CNBC Make It in July 2023. People are talking,” she added.
Magnesium supplements are good for relaxing your muscles and “can help relieve symptoms of restless legs syndrome,” says Harris. “Restless leg syndrome is a disease that causes discomfort in the legs throughout the night.”
She says that taking magnesium before bed may help reduce your wind, but “currently, there is not enough research on magnesium and sleep to provide a sleep aid.”
Some of the possible side effects of taking magnesium supplements are diarrhea, heart rhythm disturbances and kidney problems, Harris told CNBC Make It in July 2023.
“It’s important to establish proper sleep hygiene and habits before taking magnesium or melatonin for sleep,” says Harris.
This is what developing good sleep hygiene looks like, she says.
- Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule
- Avoid electronic devices before going to bed
- Prioritizing relaxation before going to bed
- Avoid caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime
All of this “helps improve your body’s natural production of melatonin, which makes it easier to fall asleep,” Harris explains.
If you want to get more melatonin or magnesium in your diet to see if it helps you sleep better after trying these steps, reach for the supplements first before eating, Harris and other experts suggest.
Research shows that these foods are rich in melatonin:
- Nuts, especially walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts
- Tart Cherries
- Cow’s milk
Harvard Health Publication And Harris says these foods have natural amounts of magnesium.
- peanut butter
- Some yogurts
- Kidney beans
- Bran flakes
- Baked potatoes (with the skin)
Harris recommends that her patients have sugar-free yogurt with almond or peanut butter at night for better sleep: “I always tell people about an hour before bed. A mix of protein and carbs can be helpful for some people.”
Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take it CNBC’s new online course on how to ace your job interview Find out what hiring managers are looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not say, and the best way to talk about pay.