The Weird Nightly Ritual That Helps Keep Me Sane 

The trick that could help you sleep better, cramp less and a whole lot more.

My new nightly routine involves brushing my teeth, washing my face, and massaging my feet with magnesium oil. Is that last step weird? Maybe — but totally worth it. Let’s talk about magnesium: It’s a mineral that’s crucial to the proper functioning of over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. And you probably aren’t getting enough of it: Studies show up to 75 percent of Americans may be deficient.

So, should you be worried? Well, only if you want less stress, better sleep, stronger bones, more flexibility, less constipation, and all of those 300 bodily reactions to be working properly.

But getting your daily dose of magnesium — between 310 and 320 milligrams for women and 400 to 420 for men — doesn’t have to be another stress-inducing activity to check off your list every day. My new favorite way to get magnesium is transdermal, which means you get the good stuff right onto your largest organ, the skin. Every night before bed, I spray magnesium “oil” (it’s really more like a sea salt spray) onto my feet and rub it in. It can tingle the first couple of times you apply, and you have the option to leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes and wash it off, or just go to bed with it on. Below, why I’ve developed this nightly ritual.

1. SLEEP and STRESS REDUCTION
When you don’t get enough magnesium, melatonin can be thrown out of whack. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates your sleep. Another hormone dependent on magnesium? Serotonin, which relaxes the nervous system and makes you happy.

2. BUH-BYE, CONSTIPATION
Magnesium helps you get rid of toxins and waste by pulling water into the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. It also relaxes tension in your intestines to make for an easier journey out.

3. NO CRAMPS
Period cramps? You’re covered. You see, your muscles need magnesium to relax. Without it, you get a buildup of lactic acid, which causes cramping. For women, magnesium can reduce cramps, migraines and symptoms of PMS like bloating and moodiness. YES.

If you prefer to get your vitamins and minerals from food (technically, you can get your daily magnesium from two cups of spinach, ½ cup of black beans and ½ an avocado — so, basically a healthy lunch), dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, bananas and dark chocolate are some great options. Me? I’ll keep my healthy diet and my nightly spritz.

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Jessica Baumgardner, aka Health Coach Philly, is a Certified Holistic Health Coach dedicated to helping women improve nutrition, reduce stress, lose weight, and increase their energy by developing personalized nutrition and lifestyle programs for them. After successfully using a holistic approach to prepare for her wedding in 2012, Jessica decided to share her knowledge of whole foods and healthy living with women to help them fulfill their own personal goals. Follow her on Instagram @jessbaumgardner or Facebook.

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