Magnesium is an essential mineral that has many physiological functions in the body such as bone health, muscle health (including cardiac muscle), mood, and sleep. Most people have used Epsom salts after a hard workout to relieve muscle soreness, but magnesium is less known for its beneficial effects on sleep.
Magnesium works to increase the levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for calming down the nerves to our muscles, thereby helping us relax. Magnesium also directly binds to GABA receptors.
There are several ways that we can increase our magnesium levels. Green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds are high in magnesium. There is also supplementation.
More recently, direct absorption through the skin has been popular for muscle relaxation. In the photo below is the Base Collective Magnesium & Lavender soap on the left, which has a lovely lavender smell (which is also beneficial for sleep). The product is also vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. The ‘Beauty Sleep’ range from Base Collective also features a spray and a balm.
In the centre is my favourite magnesium oil, the Magnesium Plus oil by Bare by Bauer. It is also vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. Best of all, there are no nasties – the whole formulation is made from natural essential oils (including, you guessed it, lavender!) and coconut oil as its carrier oil. The smell is truly luxurious – I love it! I use it on any sore muscles, and particularly on my neck and shoulders before I go to bed.
I’ve also been consuming Third Wave Nutrition’s PlantForce Magnesium, to the right of the photo. This product is vegan and has a mild citrus taste. It has become my bedtime drink! It effervesces and dissolves quickly with warm water and then I top it up with room temperature tap water. I feel more relaxed after drinking this, and I’ve made it part of my bedtime routine.
All three products are Australian, which is something important to me. I try my best to support local as much as possible!
Lastly, having a night routine is so important for sleep. It’s part of having good sleep hygiene – do have a read of this blog post I wrote if you haven’t yet. It has all my tips on getting a good rest. It’s sometimes hard to do everything, but maybe incorporating one or two things to start with may help. Since writing that post, I have also benefited so much from weighted blankets, which I’ve also reviewed. I do suffer from sleep problems, but doing a combination of all of these things do have an added effect!
As I described in my sleep hygiene post, I like to light a lavender candle 30 minutes before bed so that my whole room is filled with the lovely, calming smell. I use lavender soap for my shower, and if I’m washing my hair I have calming shampoo and conditioner (I shall have to write another post on more sleep products I’ve been testing lately). Then, I read on my couch (not in bed!) until I feel sleepy, have my PlantForce Magnesium drink, rub on some magnesium oil, and off to bed I go under my weight blanket. Seems like a lot of things, but once you add one thing at a time to your routine, you go into auto-pilot.