Sleep is crucial for overall health, muscle growth and recovery. There are many internal and external factors that regulate sleep.
The release of certain hormones and activation of different processes in the body helps your body relax and fall asleep. However, sometimes, due to one reason or another, it becomes difficult to fall asleep and enjoy a goodnight’s sleep. Under such situations, supplements like ZMA that can have a sedative effect come to help.
Want to learn more about ZMA supplement and its effects on sleep? Then keep reading to find out!
What exactly is ZMA?
ZMA is an anabolic booster that helps you gain muscle mass and strength by increasing the production of testosterone, particularly if you are deficient in components present in ZMA capsules. The main elements of a ZMA supplement are zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Different manufacturers use different forms of zinc and magnesium in this supplement. Their proportion may also vary among manufacturers.
A ZMA supplement comes in several forms like capsules, tablets, powders, etc. You can choose the form that you find more feasible. ZMA tablets are famous for their ability to induce sleep and increase athletic performance. They can also regulate levels of blood sugar and lift your mood.
Does ZMA make you sleepy?
Yes, ZMA does make you sleepy. It is mainly due to the presence of zinc and magnesium. Both of these minerals are responsible for numerous reactions in the body. They also have a sedative effect. Let’s understand the role of each mineral in inducing sleep separately.
Your body produces a hormone called melatonin naturally. Its production starts increasing in the evening.  Although this hormone does not induce sleep directly, it does promote sleep. Zinc promotes its metabolism, which helps the body relax and fall asleep. It can even help you with sleep regulation and quality.  In this way, the consumption of zinc via ZMA capsules can help you reduce regular wake-up sessions at night and make you sleep soundly.
As mentioned earlier, magnesium also has sedative effects. Its role is mainly in stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system.  This nervous system then stimulates different activities in the body such as reduction of blood pressure, drop of heartbeat rate, reduction of breathing rate, and relaxation of body muscles.  All these activities together help you fall asleep fast.
In a 2011 study, 43 participants who were suffering from insomnia took a combination of zinc, magnesium, and melatonin. After 8 weeks, it was concluded that participants who consumed this mixture had a better sleep quality compared to the participants who took a placebo. 
These pieces of research indicate that ZMA can also have a similar effect as it also contains minerals that have a sedative effect. If you are already taking medications for sleep, then consult with your doctor before taking ZMA tablets.
Should you take ZMA at night or in the morning?
Most people prefer taking a ZMA supplement at night. It is because a ZMA supplement can make you feel drowsy and sleepy. No one likes to be sleepy again in the morning. So, it is better to take it 40 to 60 minutes before going to bed. However, some people may also like taking it in the morning or post-workout in order to enhance their muscle recovery.
How to take ZMA?
You should take a ZMA supplement with water 2 hours after eating. Many people complain about stomach cramps and nausea after taking ZMA tablets with a meal. Consuming ZMA with a meal can also reduce the absorption of ZMA components, particularly if that meal is rich in calcium and fibres. Similarly, taking ZMA capsules with other medications should also be avoided. It is because ingredients of certain medications can react with ZMA and cause unwanted reactions in the body.
A ZMA supplement is available in different forms, for example, ZMA capsules, powder, tablets. Etc. You should buy it in the form that suits you the best. For instance, if you have trouble engulfing hard objects like tablets, then go for ZMA powder. It is more suitable for older adults and children. On the contrary, if you do not have any difficulty in engulfing hard tablets or capsules, then choose ZMA capsules and tablets. They are often considered suitable for adults.
What else can ZMA do?
As ZMA tablets contain zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6, it means you can take this supplement to increase levels of these three elements. Having their deficiency can affect your health in several ways.
For example, zinc and magnesium deficiency can reduce the production of testosterone, growth hormones, and insulin-like growth factors.  Low testosterone in the blood can reduce muscle cell recovery and muscle strength. Similarly, vitamin B6 deficiency can make your immunity poor and less efficient.  A poor immune system means you are more prone to infections and diseases.
Therefore, taking ZMA capsules can restore your poor immunity and promote the production of testosterone. In addition, it can also elevate mood and reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic people.
ZMA tablets have the ability to make the consumer sleepy and drowsy. Therefore, people who have trouble falling asleep are advised to take ZMA. If you are also tired of staying awake at night for no particular reason, then a ZMA supplement may also help you enjoy peaceful sleep again. If you are deciding to make ZMA capsules a part of your diet regimen, then it is best to first get your doctor’s suggestion.
- Melatonin the "light of night" in human biology and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (nih.gov)
- The Effect of Zinc Supplementation on Sleep Quality of ICU Nurses: A Double Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial - PubMed (nih.gov)
- [Long-term HRV analysis shows stress reduction by magnesium intake] - PubMed (nih.gov)
- The Parasympathetic Nervous System Explained (healthline.com)
- The effect of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc on primary insomnia in long-term care facility residents in Italy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial - PubMed (nih.gov)
- ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Effects of Vitamin B6 Deficiency on the Composition and Functional Potential of T Cell Populations - PubMed (nih.gov)