Taking Magnesium? Start Slow to Avoid Stomach Cramps

Magnesium is hands-down one of my favorite ingredients to aid with my sleep. And studies show many Americans probably aren’t getting nearly enough of this element in their diets, which can lead to all sorts of issues with sleep, cognition, athletic recovery, and stress. But there’s one important factor I’ve learned when starting off magnesium supplementation: It could help to start slowly, as a lot of magnesium at once can cause upset stomach if you aren’t used to it.

Sleep supplements containing magnesium include the element in a few different forms (in various compounds and combos): Natural Calm is probably the most famous and uses ionic magnesium citrate. This is a pleasant, fizzy powder that can be sipped before bed, but in my experience, it’s definitely one to start slowly with at first. A little bit will go a long way a first, and I’ve had success gradually increasing my dosage before bed.

Read my Natural Calm review here.

Another magnesium citrate-containing supp I really like is YAWN by Nootrobox, which I reviewed here. It’s a balanced supplement that I found easy to time and take, and it didn’t upset my stomach at all.

magnesium powder
Magnesium Powder

Yet another common form of magnesium in sleep supplements is magnesium aspartate, which you’ll find in ZMA formulas (True Athlete’s version with theanine is my favorite). I’d recommend starting with only one or two pills before bed to assess how you react to it — this is a supplement originally designed for athletic recovery, and I enjoy taking it on nights after tough workouts.

Onnit’s New Mood contains a bit of magnesium in the form of chelate, and this is another one that hasn’t upset my stomach at all.

Maybe my favorite magnesium-only supplement for sleep is Natural Stacks’ MagTech (check out my full MagTech review here). It contains three different forms of highly absorbable magnesium compounds: magnesium threonate (also referred to as Magtein), magnesium taurate, and magnesium glycinate). I’ve found this supplement to also be pretty easy on my stomach, and it’s probably the highest dosage of total magnesium I’ve been able to take without any cramps at all. I’d still recommend starting with less than a full dosage when giving this supplement a try.

Of course, user experience will vary, the above are just from my experience. If you think you have a magnesium deficiency or other issue affecting your sleep, it’s best to consult with a medical professional.


Having written hundreds of articles on SupplementYourSleep.com, Caitlyn knows what she's talking about when it comes to getting the best night's sleep. When not sleeping, reading about sleep, or writing about sleep, you can usually find her at the gym. Want to get in touch? The best way is to leave a comment on one of her articles.