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ZMA Not Working the Second Time Around?


Hey guys, so 2 years ago I had some troubles getting a restful sleep (still sleeping deeply, but not feeling rested in the morning) so I purchased 90 caps ZMA (Optimum Nutrition). It helped me a lot from day 1 and I was able to get back in tracks after a month of using it.

Lately, I've been having the same problems so I again bought ZMA, same ON product, same formula and ingredients as before. For the first 10 days, I was also following the same routine as the first time - 3 caps 30 min before bed on an empty stomach (I never had luck with eating before going to sleep anyway). This time, though, it didn't work at all.

So I read some advise to work your way up, taking 1 cap in the afternoon going later and later each day (again on clean stomach). So this is what I did for the next 2 weeks - 1 cap in the first 7 days, 2 caps in the following 7, gradually going from 1pm to 10pm. But yet once more this brought no results. For the last week, I got separately some zinc and magnesium citrate from a colleague - taking the zinc (40mg) in the morning and the magnesium (600mg) 30 min before bed, not eating any milk products for breakfast or last meal. Again - nothing.

So what could have caused this change - from a supplement, that was working like a charm from day one for me few years back, to a sugar pill now. Few thing for the record - I didn't feel any stomach discomfort and/or energy boost while taking ZMA before, and I don't feel any now. I take B-complex every morning (B6 included), but no other vitamin or mineral supplements. Also, I didn't get any vivid/lucid dreams in the last month, which was surely the case the first time (I almost never remember my dreams, but with the vivid ZMA ones I did).

So any ideas as to what could it be? I actually got my Ca, Mg, Zn and Cu levels tested and they were absolutely normal. So I'm guessing malabsorption is unlikely, but I have no other explanation as to why I don't feel anything at all - be it positive or negative... because not much has changed in regard to my nutrition habits, working hours or activity levels from the last time...


are you doing any caffine? Any supps with caffine? How much fat are you having in your last meal before bed?

If levels are normal you may have to move onto trying something else. maybe move dosages to before bed rather than throughout the day. Also consider switching brands.

I know a lot of peeps, myself included, who have gotten really good results from L-Theanine.

When you do sleep, do you wake up a lot? Dream? How much sleep are you getting?


ZMA has never helped me get to bed, or even helped me feel rested in the morning. If anything, I feel slightly groggier in the morning. However, I took a couple weeks off from caffeine, best sleep of my life.


If you're solely taking it for sleep purposes, get Z-12, blows ZMA out the water, and I've used ZMA for years.

I take that stuff probably 5x week, LOVES it


Whatever is causing your sleep problems now, must not be a lack of zinc or magnesium. In fact your blood tests confirm it. It's just a vitamin, it's not a roofie.


I was never a fan and I don't drink any tea, coffee, energy drinks or sodas, so my caffeine intake is pretty much at a fixed 0. As for, L-theanine, I actually got this before ZMA 2 years ago and didn't help me at all, although it costed an arm and a leg compared to the latter. I might give Z-12 a shot, tho.

"Maybe move dosages to before bed rather than throughout the day. Also consider switching brands."

  • Already did :confused: And regarding fat - I do the usual green salad + meat/fish combo as a last meal, plenty of fat and protein there, but that's roughly 2 hours before going to bed.

EasyRhino, yes, I know what is causing my sleep problems - having to stay and work in front of the PC for an extra 3 or 4 hours, when I'm normally used to a pretty fixed schedule and no PC exposure in the evening or at night. I guess it's purely psychological in its roots. But that was precisely the same problem as before, when ZMA helped me a lot...

So I guess it's not the sleep issue that I'm more concerned with, but why I don't feel any response from ZMA at all, when I got great results 2 years ago. 24 months is a big gap and I doubt my body got used to it for only a month anyway... even the vivid dreams lasted up until the last pill the first time, and their absence now was the initial tell-tell sign that something is not working right this time... And by the way, I'm pretty sure back then my Zn and Mg levels were also normal.


time to get weird then. What is your sleep enviroment like?


Idk if anyone else experiences this, but I have a bitch of a time falling asleep when I take a full 3 cap serving. I take the "woman" serving of 2 caps right before I crawl into bed.


Have you investigated if there's things you can adjust with your work lighting and computer screen that would reduce the stimulant effect of the screen? Along with eye breaks to focus your eyes at farther distances and blink and stuff. Along with possible adjustments at night (pitch black bedroom, etc). Just ideas, haven't really looked into it personally. Also, what time do you train? Might help to move it either closer to bed, or further away from bed.

edit: also, get some roofies.