Did you know that lifestyle can be part of maintaining healthy magnesium levels and getting restorative sleep?
We want to give a shout out to our friends at Pour & Penchant because of how much we love their candles for self care, stress relief, and establishing healthy sleeping and waking routines!
We both love to light candles at home in the evening while we're reading or spending time with family, so we always make sure to pick up another one when we see Rick and Dominic at local markets! The candles smell amazing and give the signal to our brains that it's time to wind down, relax, and start to calm our minds for bedtime. It's part of our routine as much as putting on our Sleep Balm! Lavender Sage and Nightfall (amber, cedar, sandalwood, and benzoin) from their Signature Collection are two of our favorites for relaxing. (Which you can absolutely tell by how little of them is left, haha...)
And even during the day as we're working from home, we love some of their fresh, clean scents like Swept Away (sea salt, ozone, violet, jasmine, and oakmoss) to help keep our stress levels down. We find that candles can also be a great way to enhance yoga and meditation and create positive associations with those mindfulness habits so that we look forward to doing them each morning. Just like shutting off blue lights from screens at night in favor of candlelight signals to the brain that it's bedtime, getting exposure to bright daylight and doing some movement and deep breathing first thing in the morning signals to the brain that it's time to wake up and start the day.
Basically, it's all part of maintaining our melatonin cycles in a natural way! And we can do it while savoring these lovely scents and also supporting a local business offering handmade products. Their candles are high quality and burn for a long time so they can be enjoyed daily! So if you want to start using more candles in your daytime or nighttime routine, Pour & Penchant just released their spring Apothecary Collection today! Swept Away is part of that collection, and there are plenty more truly divine scents to check out on their Instagram page and website.
Recipe: Bedtime Reishi Cacao Drink
Need something that's not a snack or glass of wine to help you wind down and even satisfy your sweet tooth? Make a jar of this natural reishi mushroom drink mix with magnesium-rich cacao powder to blend into a mug of your warm milk (dairy or non-dairy) of choice after you've applied your Sleep Balm and you'll be in dreamland in no time!
Reishi mushrooms are adaptogenic, which means they can help you to manage stress. They are also great for your immune system as they are known to up-regulate OR down-regulate your immune system to function properly. The spices in the recipe are warming and great for circulation.
Ingredients and supplies:
Makes approximately 16 servings (1 tblsp of mix)
To prep the drink mix ahead of time, add reishi mushroom powder, cacao powder, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, ground ginger, and sea salt to the mason jar. (If you know you love cayenne, add it right into the mix! Otherwise, you can experiment with a small pinch when you prepare your bedtime drink in case you don’t like it.) Screw the lid on and shake to mix and store.
To prepare at bedtime, heat 6-8 oz of milk of choice in a small pot on the stove or in the microwave. Pour milk into a mug (best if you can use a large mug to have room to blend without splashing), add a tablespoon of the reishi cacao mix, sweetener if desired, and blend. A battery powered handheld milk frother will work best to ensure that the mix is fully blended with no lumps or residue on the bottom of the mug. If you do not have a milk frother, you may want to whisk the powder right into the pot on the stove. Put on your Sleep Balm and socks, drink your reishi cacao, read a book or meditate, and be cozy :)
Also, if you want to try this cacao drink and don’t want to mix it yourself, Four Sigmatic sells Mushroom Cacao with Reishi in packets that are super easy to use! We have used it often in the past but we personally prefer the option to make it ourselves without a sweetener. Their mushrooms are very good quality, though, and we certainly recommend them. Their packets are also fantastic for travel or sending care packages to loved ones in need of some wellness!
Magnesium and Sleep
Most of us know people who use pharmaceutical sleep aids like Ambien or more natural hormones like melatonin to deal with insomnia. We are a chronically sleep-deprived society, overworked, overstressed, and desperate for rest. Stressful jobs, raising children, trying to solve financial issues, and now living through a pandemic on top of it has made restorative sleep even harder to come by.
For years, both of us have been familiar with the feeling of being unable to “turn our brains off,” as well as the migraines, brain fog, depression, anxiety, elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and food cravings that can come from frequent sleepless nights. Losing sleep causes a cascade of other issues that affect all areas of our lives, and can even affect our cardiovascular health.
But sleep aids do not get to the root of the problem, and they often linger in the body, causing grogginess the next day and even issues like short-term memory loss.
So what is the root of the problem? Often, it’s magnesium deficiency. According to Transdermal Magnesium Therapy by Dr. Mark Sircus (2011), “Magnesium allows the muscles to relax, providing a calming effect that allows for deeper relaxation and better sleep” (p. 229). Functional medicine practitioner Dr. Mark Hyman even goes so far as to refer to magnesium as the “relaxation mineral.”
According to Kerri-Ann Jennings in her article “How Magnesium Can Help You Sleep,” (2017) magnesium has even been shown to regulate the body’s natural melatonin cycle for sleeping and waking. It also “binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for quieting down nerve activity. It is the same neurotransmitter used by sleep drugs like Ambien” (Jennings, 2017). In other words, magnesium may actually be able to do some of the work people have been turning to pharmaceuticals for! And in our conversations with people at events and markets, we find that most people who are already familiar with magnesium are taking oral supplements (magnesium citrate, for example) to help with sleep.
And oral supplements can be very helpful. But transdermal magnesium chloride oil can get into our cells more quickly for a noticeable sense of relaxation. It is very helpful for people of any age, but transdermal magnesium can be particularly effective when it comes to sleep disturbances for people over 65, including people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Dr. Sircus agrees that “In the elderly, magnesium supplements were found to improve sleep by decreasing the release of cortisol, a known cause of sleep disruption” (2011, p. 229-230).
Also, the sleep disturbances that are so common for menopausal and post-menopausal women may be related to taking high levels of calcium without also supplementing with enough magnesium (Sircus, 2011, p. 229). And transdermal magnesium can even help with restless legs, hot flashes, and night sweats!
To use our Sleep Balm, apply about ½ tsp on the sole of each foot, rub in, and put on a pair of socks for about 10-15 minutes (just to avoid getting the oils and butters on your sheets). The scent of the lavender essential oil adds an extra layer of relaxation. This can be done 20-30 minutes before bedtime. Then, read a book, meditate, have a cup of tea or reishi cacao and enjoy the sense of calm you feel.