Rub Your Feet, Sleep Deep: How to Use Magnesium Oil Spray

Magnesium oil spray has been trending on TikTok as a miracle sleep aid. This article looks into its benefits for improving sleep quality, offering guidance on application, dosage, and selecting quality products. However, it's crucial to consult a healthcare provider before use, especially if managing any diagnosed conditions or taking medications.

What is magnesium oil spray?

Technically, magnesium oil is not actually an oil. Instead, it is a highly concentrated mixture of magnesium chloride flakes and water. The final product has an oil-like texture, but it does not come with the disadvantages of real oils, such as oil stains on clothing. The substance can be either sprayed or rubbed onto the skin. Topical magnesium oil is popular for its supposed ability to improve sleep, but there is not much research on its effectiveness compared to oral magnesium supplements or getting magnesium from your diet.

Magnesium oil sprays are popular for promoting sleep when applied to the feet, especially on TikTok. However, placebo effects can be a huge culprit. Still, rubbing one's feet every night can create a relaxing ritual, helping you to fall asleep faster. Very little research is done on topical magnesium absorption, whether it be oil or cream, but transdermal administration may be a good option for people with gastrointestinal issues who cannot take supplements orally.

How to apply magnesium oil?

Feet have more permeable skin as compared to other parts of the body, as well as many tension relief points. Thus, it has been suggested that rubbing the feet with magnesium oil before bed may promote better sleep by increasing magnesium absorption directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the gastrointestinal tract, as well as promoting relaxation through foot massage, if done with good technique. However, there is a lack of studies comparing topical versus oral magnesium supplements, with the majority of research on the benefits of magnesium done on the latter. The extent to which magnesium is absorbed from transdermal products remains unclear.

Some recommend applying magnesium oil to the soles of the feet for minimal skin sensitivity, while others suggest the tops of the feet for better absorption but with a higher risk of skin reactions. Follow the product guidelines for optimal use.

Magnesium oil can also be applied to the inner or under the arms, abdomen, upper back, neck, and legs. Thus, although the trend started with feet, you can potentially experience the benefits of magnesium oil by applying it elsewhere, based on personal preference. However, it should not be applied on broken or otherwise irritated skin.

It is reported that the optimal results are achieved when applying the spray 30 minutes before bedtime. The spray can be used daily, but underlying deficiency causes should be addressed in the long term.

Benefits of magnesium for sleep

Magnesium plays a vital role in promoting relaxation, supporting melatonin production, calming the nervous system, and supporting the circadian rhythm, thus potentially facilitating an easier transition to sleep and enhancing sleep quality.

May promote relaxation

Low levels of magnesium are associated with higher sensitivity to external stress, higher noradrenaline release, and higher levels of anxiety. Magnesium enhances GABAergic signaling, which may reduce anxiety and is important for the initiation and maintenance of non-rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. Boosting magnesium intake may alleviate anxiety symptoms and promote relaxation, aiding faster sleep onset. Additionally, magnesium may support muscle relaxation by counteracting calcium-mediated muscle contraction, aiding physical relaxation.

Supports melatonin production

Magnesium helps regulate the production and release of melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep-wake cycles. Boosting magnesium levels before bed may enhance melatonin release and promote better sleep. Animal research indicates that low magnesium levels are linked to reduced melatonin, but magnesium supplementation may restore normal melatonin levels, however clinical trials in human have not been done.

May enhance sleep quality

Observational studies have linked magnesium supplementation to improved sleep quality, suggesting that magnesium can promote relaxation, leading to better sleep quality and fewer awakenings. Additionally, magnesium may help regulate neurotransmitters and hormones involved in sleep, such as GABA and melatonin, contributing to a more balanced sleep-wake cycle and overall enhanced sleep quality. However, clinical studies have not found a clear association between oral magnesium supplements and improved sleep quality, requiring further research.

May reduce some insomnia symptoms

Magnesium oil has been widely marketed for promoting relaxation and melatonin release, reducing anxiety, and thus helping alleviate insomnia symptoms. However, the studies examining the association between dietary magnesium intake and insomnia show mixed results. While magnesium supplementation reduced sleep onset time on average by 17.36 min in older adults, the improvement in total sleep time was not significant. Some studies have also shown that magnesium may help alleviate periodic limb movements often associated with insomnia; however, the evidence is not conclusive.

Supports the circadian rhythm

In clinical settings, depleting magnesium was associated with disruptions of the internal biological clock, in turn disrupting the circadian rhythm, leading to worse sleep quality. Adequate magnesium levels may help stabilize the circadian rhythm, resulting in more consistent and restful sleep.

Benefits of magnesium for overall health

Magnesium is involved in numerous physiological processes, including brain function and neuronal signaling, heart function and blood pressure, skeletal muscle function, and cellular physiology. Magnesium deficiency is associated with symptoms of muscle soreness and cramps, difficulty sleeping, low energy, depressed mood, headaches, generalized anxiety, fatigue, and higher emotionality. Addressing magnesium deficiency can reduce the symptoms and increase well-being.

Correct dosage

Magnesium supplement dosage depends on physiological factors like age, body weight, health status, and individual tolerance. Whenever possible, it is best to consult a doctor when deciding on the dose, and never go above the recommendations provided by the manufacturer. Daily magnesium intake recommendations based on various groups, as indicated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are:

AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
Birth to 6 months30 mg30 mgN/AN/A
7-12 months75 mg75 mgN/AN/A
1-3 years80 mg80 mgN/AN/A
4-8 years130 mg130 mgN/AN/A
9-13 years240 mg240 mgN/AN/A
14-18 years410 mg360 mg400 mg360 mg
19-30 years400 mg310 mg350 mg310 mg
31-50 years420 mg320 mg360 mg320 mg
51+ years420 mg320 mgN/AN/A

Choosing the right magnesium oil spray

When selecting a magnesium oil spray, it is essential to consider factors such as quality, purity, and ingredients. Look for products that contain pure magnesium chloride without additional additives or fillers.

Costs can vary between $10–30 depending on the purity, concentration, design, and general brand image. Prioritizing quality and ingredients may contribute to the product's efficacy and safety, however it is still highly dependent on individual health status, age, weight, responsiveness, application method, and duration of use.

Risks of magnesium oil spray

Magnesium oil spray is generally considered safe for topical use. However, some individuals may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions. It is advisable to perform a patch test before widespread application and to discontinue use if adverse reactions occur.

People with kidney issues should consult a healthcare professional before using medications and supplements containing magnesium, as the kidneys play a vital role in balancing magnesium levels in the body. People who are already using magnesium supplements to alleviate other conditions should steer away from using magnesium oil for better sleep.

Magnesium oil is intended for external use only and should not be ingested.

Magnesium may improve sleep quality by supporting relaxation and regulating sleep cycles, as well as creating a relaxing bedtime ritual of rubbing oil onto your feet or other parts of your body. Magnesium oil provides a convenient way to deliver magnesium straight to the body without the need to take oral supplements. Although magnesium supplements do not require a prescription, it is best to consult your doctor before use whenever possible.

Despite the popularity and the accessibility of magnesium oil, the evidence on the sleep promoting benefits, such as reduced insomnia symptoms, is inconclusive. The research on transdermal, rather than oral, magnesium supplement is limited and has little scientific backing.

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