This study was performed to investigate whether magnolol enhances pentobarbital-induced sleeping behaviors through the GABAergic systems. Magnolol prolonged the sleeping time induced by pentobarbital. In addition, magnolol increased chloride influx in primary cultured cerebellar granule cells. The expression of the GABA(A) receptor alpha-subunit was increased selectively by magnolol, but magnolol had no effect on the abundance of beta- or gamma-subunits. The expression of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) was not influenced by magnolol. It is suggested that magnolol may enhance pentobarbital-induced sleeping behaviors through the activation of GABAergic systems.