LaShawn Wiltz hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep in decades. She’s had chronic sleep-maintenance insomnia since high school, meaning she has trouble staying asleep through the night. So when Wiltz, who’s now in her mid-40s, heard about the “sleepy girl mocktail” on TikTok, she was curious. Might this do-it-yourself concoction made with a supplement called magnesium glycinate actually help her get a good night’s rest? Or like a lot of health hacks featured on social media, was there no there, there?

While not all of us have sleep disorders, most of us could use more sleep. Seven to 9 nine  hours is the recommended amount. With good sleep habits – sometimes called “sleep hygiene” – you might achieve this goal and help your health. But for many people, getting consistent, deep, uninterrupted, restorative rest remains out of reach. Even with the best intentions and practices, the wakeful hours can add up, creating sleep debt that, over time, can hamper health. 

Enter the “sleepy girl mocktail,” touted on TikTok as a nonalcoholic drink anyone can make with ingredients including the powdered form of magnesium glycinate, tart cherry juice, and a bubbly chaser like prebiotic soda or sparkling water.

But does magnesium glycinate really help you sleep better? Or is it too good to be true? Before you fill up your glass, here’s what you should know.

Magnesium glycinate consists off:

Magnesium. This mineral helps to manage your body’s nerve and muscle function by doing things like keeping your blood pressure level normal and your heart rhythm steady. Magnesium is also a micronutrient found in many foods, such as beans, seeds, nuts, and dark chocolate. (But when these foods are overly processed, the magnesium can drain away and your body won’t get enough of it.) 

Glycine. This is a nonessential amino acid that your body uses to create protein. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

“Magnesium glycinate is a well-regarded supplement known for its potential to contribute to better sleep and alleviate overall anxiousness,” says Faisal Tai, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist in Houston. He says it has been “suggested to have a calming effect on the nervous system, potentially helping individuals fall asleep faster and experience more restorative sleep” and is “particularly helpful to people dealing with anxiety, as sleep disturbances often worsen feelings of unease.”

Of course, sleep doesn’t rest on just one nutrient. Many things are involved. 

“Magnesium helps your brain calm down and relaxes your muscles, which could help you sleep better by supporting your body’s natural sleep patterns,” says Shelby Harris, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist in White Plains, NY, who’s board-certified in behavioral sleep medicine. “But it’s not a one-stop fix for everyone, and we’re still figuring out exactly how it works for different people.” 

How quickly magnesium glycinate helps with sleep or relaxation differs for each person, Harris says. “Some people may feel the effects on their sleep in a few days. For others, it may take a few weeks.” 

There isn’t a lot of research on the topic. “It is hard to find peer-reviewed literature on magnesium glycinate and sleep specifically,” says Chester Wu, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist in Houston. “In much of the literature, the specific type of magnesium used in the study isn’t noted,” he Wu  says. He points out that studies have mainly looked at people with anxiety, depressive disorders, or sleep disorders such as insomnia or rRestless lLegs sSyndrome (RLS).

How much of the supplement’s success could be due to the placebo effect? That is, if someone believes that it will work, is it more likely to work?

“The placebo or belief effects could influence the degree to which magnesium ‘works’ for sleep,” Wu says. But he notes that the placebo effect “isn’t just psychological” and can affect the body – in this case, by helping the nervous system relax so sleep starts sooner and with less restlessness during the night.

Wiltz first heard about magnesium glycinate not as a sleep aid, but for something else.

“My nutritionist recommended the supplement specifically to help me with muscle soreness,” says Wiltz, who lives in the Atlanta resident says. Those aches had come from bumping up her strength training. “I was using heavier weights to rehab my knee after a running injury,” she says.

Wiltz was already drinking tart cherry juice in the hopes that it would ease inflammation from the arthritis in her knees. Then she saw the TikTok mocktail mix made with magnesium glycinate and decided to try it to see if it would soothe her muscles and improve her sleep. “I love mixing it with about 4 ounces of tart cherry juice, but my preferred way is the pill form,” she says. “I take one or the other every night.” 

Experts often recommend food sources of nutrients as a first step. There are plenty of foods that could help you get more magnesium. Magnesium-rich foods include:

  • Pumpkin seeds and other seeds
  • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard
  • Nuts like almonds and cashews
  • Fish, including salmon and halibut

If you decide to try a supplement, tell your doctor so that they can make sure that it won’t affect any health conditions you have or medications you take. Keep in mind, too, that the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements in the same way as medications.

Although magnesium glycinate is generally safe, taking too much can upset your stomach. “It’s important to start with a smaller dose and watch how your body responds,” Harris says. “Seniors, teenagers, and people who have preexisting kidney concerns should talk to their doctor before starting to take magnesium glycinate, especially if they’re already taking other medicines to avoid potential interactions.”

Since starting to take magnesium glycinate, Wiltz found that her muscle aches waned and her sleep improved. “Almost immediately, I noticed that I was sleeping heavier,” she Wiltz  says. “It’s not a miracle pill. I still have nights when sleep is elusive, but it’s much less than before.” 


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