Magnesium vs Melatonin – Which is Better For a Restful Sleep?

Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic placed the world at a standstill but the disruption to our daily lives, anxiety, uncertainty and additional daily stresses have caused many of us to lie awake in our bed’s long into the night staring into the abyss as we struggle to sleep. 

A natural solution that could help lull one to sleep is using either of the sleeping aids; magnesium or melatonin. So we’ve decided to unpack the differences between the two as they both perform different roles in promoting a healthy sleep cycle. 


Magnesium is considered an essential mineral that can assist in helping humans maintain a healthy lifestyle. As we do not naturally produce this mineral, we must seek it out in our dietary intake or by use of a supplement.

The US National Department of Health & Human Services has recommended that the intake levels of magnesium for women aged 19 and older must be between 310-320 mg a day whereas men in the same age bracket should be taking 400-420 mg a day. 

Not only does magnesium assist with establishing healthy sleeping cycles but a deficiency of this essential mineral can contribute to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and even type 2 diabetes.

How It Works 

Magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system, a system which plays a pivotal role in relaxing and calming one promoting the natural dozing off as you tuck yourself into bed. 

The essential mineral also regulates melatonin, a hormone that helps regulates one’s sleep-wake cycle. Magnesium helps prepare the body and mind for sleep by binding to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for dampening nerve activity.

The benefits of taking magnesium extend outside of not only assisting in helping us to get some good shut-eye as it has been linked to fighting inflammation, lowering one’s blood pressure and relieving symptoms of constipation. 


Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the brain’s pineal gland at night and helps signal your body into a less alert and sleepy state. This ‘sleep’ hormone suppresses the release of both dopamine and noradrenaline, two stimulating chemical messengers that can interrupt a good night’s rest. 

The natural release of this hormone is triggered by the decrease in light and according to the National Sleep Foundation, it is released around 9pm and becomes nearly undetectable in the morning.

Due to the impacts of anxiety and stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us may need a bit of assistance in regulating our sleeping patterns and melatonin can provide this.

Although melatonin can be found in some dietary resources, some of us may have low levels and require supplementary assistance.  

The Sleep Doctor, Dr Michael Breus has shared that melatonin has been found to produce a more refreshing sleep. “May improve the quality of sleep and reduce daytime sleepiness and fatigue.  Studies also show melatonin may increase REM sleep.”

Importance of sleep during the pandemic 

Sleep is critical to our overall well-being as it helps to strengthen our immune system, heighten and assist in brain function, it enhances our overall mood and contributes to improving our mental health. 

With overwhelming emotions of uncertainty, anxiety, and general stress during the current pandemic, it has become even more critical that we look after our sleep patterns and get more than just a few winks. 

  • Lyn
    Posted at 12:30h, 22 July Reply

    I am presently taking magnesium but it is not assisting me with insomnia nor does malatonin.
    Anything else you can suggest please?

  • Caryll Stanbridge
    Posted at 14:31h, 22 July Reply

    Hi. Should I be taking magnesium and melatonin during this pandemic ?
    And what about Zinc?

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