Sleep is such an important part of a healthy life but sleep disorders, stress, and restlessness mean that we are getting less and less sleep as the years go on. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
The way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while you're sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.
What happens during sleep?
- The brain forms new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Studies show that a good night's sleep improves learning. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
- Sleep resets you emotionally. Studies show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.
- Your heart and blood vessels are healing and repairing. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and stroke.
- Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens.
- Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances.
The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
Obviously getting more hours of sleep is a great start, but we need to also get more restful sleep. This is where magnesium can help.
More than 80% of us have a magnesium deficiency and don't even know it. The symptoms of a magnesium deficiency are common symptoms for many conditions: feeling tired, feeling run-down, not sleeping well, headaches, digestive issues, muscle tension, stress, and anxiety.
What is Magnesium? Without magnesium we could not produce energy, our muscles would be in a permanent state of contraction, and we could not adjust the levels of cholesterol produced and released into the blood stream.
Oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen form the basis of compounds found in all living matter. Beyond compounds built from these four most common elements, the rest of the body’s contents is made up of minerals. Magnesium is a macro-mineral, which, unlike trace minerals, is needed by the body in large amounts. Calcium, sodium, and potassium are also macro-minerals. The average human body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, one of the six essential minerals that must be supplied in the diet.
Studies have shown that DNA synthesis is slowed by insufficient magnesium. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the body’s genetic code, used in the building of proteins and the reproduction of cells. The cells in our body are constantly being replaced by new cells. Different types of cells turnover at different rates, with the average age of a cell in the human body estimated at seven years. Thus, it is especially important that our DNA remain stable, avoiding mutations that can negatively impact cellular function. DNA stability is dependent in part on magnesium. Magnesium not only stabilizes DNA structures, it also functions as a cofactor in the repair of DNA damage by environmental mutagens.
So, magnesium is pretty important! Let's get more of it in your body! This homemade magnesium body butter helps replace the magnesium our body needs to thrive and it's pretty easy to make!
STEP 1: cut cocoa butter into small pieces and add 1/2 cup to a heat-safe glass measuring cup (or heat-safe glass bowl)
STEP 2: melt cocoa butter using double boiler method. Do this by placing heat-safe glass measuring cup/bowl inside a pot that has 1-2 inches of simmering water. Heat over medium heat and stir occasionally until cocoa butter is completely melted.
STEP 3: remove the cocoa butter from heat, and add 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil to the melted cocoa butter. The heat of the cocoa butter will be enough to melt the coconut oil. Stir until completely melted.
STEP 4: add 1/4 cup magnesium oil and mix to combine
STEP 5: place the mixture in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes. Note: magnesium oil is not actually an oil; it is a brine (or water based). And as we know, water and oil do not mix. So the magnesium oil will likely separate from the cocoa butter and coconut oil during this phase. That’s okay. When you whip it in the next steps, it will eventually emulsify and hold together.
STEP 6: after the mixture is chilled all the way through it will be solid. Scoop it out of the measuring cup and use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip it. Start on low and increase speed slowly. Whip for about 3-5 minutes. Note: Magnesium oil is not actually an oil; it is water based. And since water and oil don’t easily mix, you will likely see droplets of the magnesium oil separating from the butter/oil mixture initially. Those magnesium droplets may get flung out to the edge of the bowl. That’s okay, they will eventually get mixed in with the butter/oil mixture and stayed mixed. It just takes a little while.
STEP 7: add in 10 drops each of lavender essential oil, cedarwood essential oil, and frankincense essential oil (30 drops of essential oil total). (note: This sounds like a lot of essential oils, but because 1 cup of butter and oil is used, it is less than a 1% dilution (0.6%) . Then scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue whipping for another 5 minutes or so, until the magnesium body butter is light and fluffy. A sign to look for to let you know that it’s getting close to being ready – the color of the magnesium body butter will change from yellow to a pale ivory, almost white.
STEP 9: scoop the magnesium body butter into glass jars. This recipe makes enough for two 4 oz. glass jars or six 1.5 oz glass jars.
You can use this body butter a few different ways:
- For relaxing and sleep massage the body butter into your skin at bedtime.
- For stress, anxiety, or headaches, massage the body butter on the back of your neck, base of your skull, and your forehead/temples. Avoid your eyes.
- For muscle cramps, massage the body butter into the muscle cramp.
- Magnesium can cause itching and stinging, especially the first few times you use it. Only use a very small amount until your body gets used to it. Use caution until you know how your body reacts.
- Do not apply to freshly shaven skin, open wounds, or broken skin.
- Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees. If your home is warmer than that, you’ll want to keep your body butter in the refrigerator. It will get very firm and hard in the fridge, but just scoop a little out when you need it and it will melt almost instantly once in contact with your skin.
Credit: One Essential Community