Do you struggle to wind down at night? Does it take you a while to get comfortable in bed, or to feel relaxed and ready for sleep? Are the muscles in your shoulders and back feeling tight and tense by the end of the day?
How does a nice, hot bath sound to remedy all that? Uh, yeah. My guess is it’s been a while since your last bath time, right?
A bedtime bath is by far one of the most therapeutic tools you can have in establishing healthy sleep patterns. Taking time to yourself to relax in warm, soothing water is great as it is, but if you really want to turn your bath into a sleep-boosting, stress-busting, muscle-relaxing miracle worker of a sleep remedy, this is how it’s done.
(Oh, and YES—this works for calming the kids down at night, too!)
You’ll need just two simple key ingredients: epsom salts and baking soda.
Epsom salts, made of magnesium sulphate, are an old-fashioned remedy for soothing tired, aching muscles.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant; it accomplishes this by moving calcium out of the muscles, and back into the bloodstream where it can be mobilized elsewhere. It’s also a critical nutrient to your body’s glucose metabolism—magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar by assisting cells in producing energy from glucose.
What does that all have to do with sleep? Well, releasing muscle tension is a key element in allowing the body to initiate the relaxation response (think, the opposite of the stress response), which is necessary for sleep. And because the metabolism-supportive benefits of magnesium help to produce cellular energy, your blood sugar can be better stabilized—this is essential for maintaining balanced hormonal levels that help you sleep.
Your body can absorb this magnesium from epsom salts quite efficiently, so epsom salt baths are an excellent way to supplement the calmative mineral. And epsom salts also serve to provide a gentle, effective detox bath.
Sleep benefits of baking soda
Baking soda added to an epsom salt bath is another powerful sleep aid. That’s because it supplements the body with extra CO2 to be absorbed. Did you know that C02 is one of the most important chemicals in your body? It supports healthy cellular energy production—which in turn promotes healthy sleep and keeps stress hormones at bay.
Your sleep cycles are designed to maintain CO2 levels during the night. In REM sleep, breathing is shallow and inhibited, and CO2 levels rise. The naturally-restful deep sleep stages allow for a greater production of CO2, which allows for cellular repairs to take place as stem cells multiply and mitochondrial energy is supported with lots of that good CO2.
So here’s a recipe for the ultimate in bedtime relaxation:
Bath Recipe it’s to be used in a regular-sized full bath tub filled.
Essential oils or dried herbs of your choosing. Chamomile (oil; dried) and lavender (oil;dried) are excellent sleep-promoting choices.
If you aren’t noticing a muscle-relaxing effect from the epsom salts, increase the amount until you do. Some people need as much as 4 pounds of epsom salts in their bath! As your body’s magnesium stores become replenished, you will find that you’ll need less epsom salt as time goes on. Generally, a good maintenance dose is about 2 cups of epsom salts, when used in a full bath for at least 20-40 minutes.