Taking MSM Before Bed: Side Effects & Things You Need To Know

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by theworldofsleepstaff

There’s a variety of reasons people take MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), from treating arthritis and inflammatory disorders, to helping enhance skin and hair. However what is often forgotten about is the effects of taking MSM before bed. But those effects should be known by anyone taking this supplement.

That’s where we come in. Here we’ll give you an an in-depth explanation of MSM, its effect on the body when taken before bed, as well as its general effect on the body.

Note: You must always consult your doctor before including a new supplement into your daily routine as only your doctor can explain any pros or cons that are specific to you. Some supplements may interfere with medications too. This article doesn’t constitute medical advice.


Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur-containing compound that can be found naturally in humans, some green plants, and animals. There is also a synthetic version of it that is made in a lab.

Due to its relative inertness, it is present in minute quantities in a lot of food products and beverages and is commonly used as a dietary supplement.

It is said to be a natural and biological source of sulfur and thus, can be used as a sulfur supplement for people that are sulfur deficient.

MSM has been formulated into various pharmaceutical products and dosage forms, and has been reported to be effective in treating osteoarthritis, aging, inflammation, hay fever, and other conditions. And it may be for one of those reasons that you are taking MSM before bed, or thinking about it.

It also has antimicrobial properties because of its reaction mechanism. Basically what that means, is it can bind to surface receptor sites and block the interaction of parasites and hosts.  Because of that ability, it is believed that MSM can help strengthen the immune system.

Although the evidence is still being gathered to prove these claims, MSM is frequently used in a lot of pharmaceutical products. But what impact will it have on your sleep?

taking MSM before bed


As mentioned earlier, MSM is an organosulfate compound, although there are other organic compounds in it. That means it is mainly composed of sulfur which is the third most abundant mineral in the human body.

In the body, sulfur is used in the production of a peptide hormone called insulin. Insulin is used to regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates and promote the absorption of glucose from the blood into the skeletal muscle cells. This provides cells with energy and makes them more active. It also explains why MSM is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis

However, because MSM provides cells with energy, taking MSM before bed has the potential to cause insomnia. Simply put, due to its primary component, sulfur, MSM increases the energy level of the body and makes it harder for the body to shut down and relax for sleep.

Recommended: Foods To Avoid With Insomnia

To avoid any MSM-induced insomnia, it is advised that treatment should start with a low dose before working up to the the recommended dose. Also, MSM should really only be taken at least five hours before bedtime. That’s to give your body sufficient time to burn any excess energy that might have been produced.

Another effect that MSM might have on sleep can be traced to some of its side effects. Some of the reported side effects of MSM include; headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, bloatedness, and other gastrointestinal problems.

These side effects can not only affect the general wellness of the body but also directly prevent sleep and sleep quality. After all, you can’t sleep like a baby when your gut is causing issues! Fortunately though, not everyone suffers from these side effects. Plus these side effects are temporary and do eventually go away.

Also, it is important to note that these symptoms are not generic as we all have different body systems and reactions. So one person’s reaction to taking MSM before bed, will be different to another person’s reaction.

Due to the way MSM interacts with the body and makes cells more active, taking MSM before bed could result in insomnia. Side effects from taking MSM, such as headaches and gastrointestinal problems, could also result in sleep issues and have an influence on sleep quality.



The primary component of MSM is responsible for most of its effect on the body. And whilst insomnia is a potential issue that could arise from taking MSM before bed, there are many potential positive effects that MSM may have on the body too.

1. Decrease Joint Pain and Support Physical Health

Sulfur is one of the major components of the connective tissues that reside within the human body. It helps in the production of amino acids and promotes oxygen transport across cell membranes. However, as we grow older, the sulfur content in the cartilage decreases and this causes degeneration of joint health (arthritis) which can lead to stiffness and pain.

MSM increases the sulfur content in the body, thereby decreasing joint pain and supporting physical health and movement. That’s why numerous studies have shown MSM to help people who suffer from arthritis.

iStock.com/Tina Zupancic

2. Enhancing Appearance of Skin, Hair, and Nails

We mentioned earlier that one of the biological uses of sulfur in the body is to produce hormones. Sulfur is a key component in two of the most important hormones responsible for keeping the skin healthy and vitalized. These hormones are collagen and keratin.

Collagen makes up 70% of the skin’s dry weight and it provides support for the structural integrity of the skin. Likewise, keratin is an important structural component of both the nails and hair.

Any compound like MSM that contains sulfur will increase the production of these hormones, thus improving the firmness and elasticity of the skin. As has been shown in previous medical studies. That’s also had a knock on effect in the way people look, and so MSM has often been touted as having an ‘anti-ageing effect.’

3. MSM Could Cause Gastrointestinal Problems

MSM might also have some negative effects on the body. Several gastrointestinal problems have been reported AS side effects of taking medications containing MSM. That said, some limited animal studies have also shown potential benefits for the gastric system of taking MSM.

Some of the negative side effects of MSM on the gut include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Bloatedness

Other side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of focus

The good news is that the majority of these side effects are temporary and mild. So they shouldn’t pose any serious risk to users and consumers.

taking MSM before bed

4. Improves Energy and Supports the Immune System

Systemic inflammation is a serious health condition that may lead to various chronic and acute health conditions.

It has been reported that MSM has anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent this. MSM can also help the body maintain the correct level of cellular regeneration, thus potentially preventing diseases like cancer. That’s something that has been hinted to in studies.

A few studies have also shown that MSM might be effective in detoxification. That’s because it aids in the production of one of the most important antioxidants in the body – glutathione.

Studies have shown MSM to have potential benefits for joint health, enhancing the appearance of skin, hair and nails, as well as having anti-inflammatory properties that could help prevent disease. However, common short-term side effects of MSM supplementation include gastrointestinal problems, headaches and nausea.

Our Final Thoughts

Due to the lack of conclusive evidence on MSM and its total effects on the body, it is advised that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers don’t take any chances with it.

Furthermore, whilst there appears to be no interaction between the compound and other herbs or foods, it is advised to speak to your doctor before starting any supplementation of MSM.

Lastly, it should be noted that since MSM is a sulfa drug, it should not be taken by people who are allergic to sulfa.