Last year, my doctor recommended I start taking a magnesium supplement. He suggested a daily dose of Natural Calm—an effervescent magnesium citrate powder than you mix into water—to help boost my levels.
As the brand name implies, magnesium supplementation can help with a number of issues, including helping to quell anxiety and lull you to sleep. It works beautifully for me, with one big problem: I am not a fan of the taste! They have flavored versions, and I tried each one, but nothing could make me like it enough to take it every day. I knew there had to be a better way to get my magnesium in (other than through food, which I also do!).
So I did what I always do when I have a problem: I headed to the kitchen and did some trial-and-error. I made gummies, I mixed the powder into juice, I blended it with my smoothies. I even tried cooking with the powder, but nothing worked consistently. Then as I was trying my hand at gummies again and brought out my container of grass-fed gelatin, it hit me—DUH, TURN IT INTO GELATIN! That way, not only do I get a nightcap of magnesium and other goodies that help me sleep, but I also get to enjoy a nightly, healthy, all-natural dessert. Win-win, right?
I’ve been eating these little pots of sleepytime goodness for the better part of six months now, and when I skip them for a few days, I can feel my body reacting negatively. My body is happier when it gets its nightcap! Let me introduce you to Goodnight Gelatin.
Now, the magnesium isn’t the only sleep-assisting ingredient in this gelatin. Let me walk you through what makes these little jars insomnia-busting:
- Magnesium: We’ve already covered this, but insomnia is a common symptom of a magnesium deficiency. Psychology Today says, “People with low magnesium often experience restless sleep, waking frequently during the night. Maintaining healthy magnesium levels often leads to deeper, more sound sleep. Magnesium plays a role in supporting deep, restorative sleep by maintaining healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep.”
- Tart Cherry Juice: Tart cherry juice isn’t just there to make this goodnight gelatin taste like cherry pie (which it does!). Recent research is showing that tart cherry juice may help adults fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Researchers found that adults who drank tart cherry juice experienced a demonstrable increase in sleep efficiency, as well as an average 39-minute increase in sleep duration. How does it work? It’s hypothesized that tart cherry juice helps to boost the body’s melatonin levels—the hormone that regulates our sleep and wake cycle. Tart cherry juice also has natural anti-inflammatory properties—meaning if pain is what keeps you up at night, tart cherry juice might help take the edge off enough to sleep soundly.
- Grass-Fed Gelatin: The main amino acid in gelatin, glycine, has been shown in studies to help with sleep quality. Studies also show a connection between glycine and reduced anxiety and other nervous system issues. Many folks have a cup of bone broth before bed to get the sleep benefits of gelatin, but sometimes I want something sweet instead—and this gelatin fits the bill.
- Raw Honey: There is some anecdotal evidence that raw honey before bed can help with sleep by feeding the brain its fuel of choice—glucose. I don’t add the honey to mine for any particular sleep health benefits—I do it because I like a little sweet taste after dinner each night! I use honey to taste here.
As you can see, this gelatin is packed full of nighttime goodness—but I do have one (important!) caveat to mention about magnesium supplementation. The only side effect of over-supplementing magnesium is loose bowels. This can be used to your advantage if you suffer from constipation (which is one of the many reasons my doctor has me on magnesium), but if you already have bowels that trend toward being loose or if you are new to magnesium supplementation, you obviously don’t want to spend all day in the bathroom.
The solution here? Start with a small amount of magnesium powder and slowly work your way up until you get to the point where you feel the pleasant effects of the magnesium without any laxative effect. At the right dosage, your stools should be comfortably loose (whatever that means to you). The recipe below is for a full dose of magnesium (2 teaspoons/350mg) per serving. If you are new to magnesium supplementation, I recommend cutting the amount listed down to one quarter and starting there. You can increase with each new batch. Another option is just to eat less gelatin—but you won’t get as much of the health benefits of the gelatin or tart cherry juice with the smaller batches.
If your body requires a lot of magnesium (like mine does!), this recipe will also easily hold double the recommended dose (4 teaspoons/700mg) per serving without tasting off at all. I should know– that’s how much I take every day! And sometimes even more than that amount if I’m going through a particularly stressful time or struggling with a headache or constipation. After all, the amount of magnesium our bodies need is fluid—so you might need more or less depending on what’s going on with your life and your body. You might want to adjust your batches each time you make them!
Speaking of batches, I make two weeks worth of this goodnight gelatin at a time and store it in four-ounce jelly jars in my fridge. They stay in my fridge just fine for the two weeks, but after that, they do start to mold—so if you don’t think you’ll get through the whole batch in that time, cut the recipe in half.
You’ll want to pick up tart cherry juice concentrate for this goodnight gelatin. The concentrate is with the bottled smoothies and juices near the produce section of all the supermarkets in my area. Getting the concentrate is a little more expensive at first—the price on the bottle will probably make you double take—but it lasts forever in the fridge! It ends up being such a better deal than the diluted juice if you plan on making consuming tart cherry juice regularly. Sleep well, friends!