There’s nothing like a nice long soak in a hot bath after a busy, stressful day. Within minutes you can feel the tension easing out of stiff muscles and soon your eyes drift shut as your body relaxes. Nighttime baths are a must in many bedtime routines for both kids and adults, and for good reason. It only makes sense to do as many things as possible to ensure a deep, uninterrupted sleep, whether it’s avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, drinking herbal tea or shutting down stimulating screens and technology at least half an hour before hitting the sack.
Fortunately, there is one more step you can take to make the most of your pre-bed ritual. And the great news is, it works for kids too! Adding some soothing Epsom salt to your evening bath can help relax muscles and promote a restful night’s sleep.
How they work
Epsom salts are not actually salt, but a naturally occurring compound of minerals made up of magnesium and sulfate.
The salts were discovered in the 1600s by a villager looking for water sources for cattle in Epsom, England. When he investigated a spring that the animals wouldn’t drink from because of a funny taste, he discovered the mineral-rich water that would soon become a therapeutic spa designed for people to soak in to restore and maintain health.
There is scientific research to support that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, so this makes soaking in the Epsom salts the perfect way to relax and get the benefits of the minerals at the same time.
We know that magnesium helps promote healthy sleep by producing serotonin, the all-important mood-elevating chemical in our brain that helps us feel calm. Magnesium also helps our nerve function and can even help with the pain of migraine headaches. Chronic stress and anxiety actually depletes our bodies of magnesium, which in turn can increase levels of adrenaline. The sulfates in Epsom salts contribute by helping us absorb the nutrients and flush out toxins.
How to use them
Epsom salts are natural and safe to use, even for young children. They are readily available, and you should be able to find them in any pharmacy.
Directions for children:
Follow the directions on the package, or just sprinkle salts in your child’s bath at night and wait until they’re dissolved before letting your child in the tub. The younger your child, the less salts you should use. Use approximately half a cup for kids under 6 and a full cup for older kids. Offer Epsom salt baths a few times a week or on nights that your child seems particularly wound up and difficult to settle down.
Directions for adults:
Adults can use two cups of salts in their nighttime bath to soak away toxins and stress. Making this a part of your bedtime routine will help you let go of all the anxieties of your day so you can rest well and start again the next morning refreshed!
While Epsom salts have been proven to be excellent for the skin and for some conditions like psoriasis, they can potentially aggravate open sores or wounds. Also, always make sure to check that you are using pure Epsom salt that are not mixed with perfumed or artificially colored bath salts. If your child has sensitive skin, this could cause some irritation.
By the way, if you’re looking for a complete, step-by-step guide that will explains exactly how to get your child sleeping straight through the night, check out The Sleep Sense Program. (It’s backed by a 12 month, no-hassle guarantee, so there’s no risk in trying it out in your home!)